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    Feb 20, 2014

    Why that slight 'haze' this week

    THE haze has returned in Pekanbaru, capital of Indonesia's Riau province, but north-easterly winds will keep it away from Singapore - for now.

    The slightly hazy conditions here this week are due to the accumulation of particulate matter under stable weather conditions, the National Environment Agency said in a statement on Tuesday. The 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index remained in the good range, between 27 and 38.

    Pekanbaru's airport reported flight delays yesterday, due to the thick smoke from plantation and forest fires in the province.

    In Singapore, the Environment and Water Resources Ministry is seeking feedback on a new law that would hold companies or other entities that cause transboundary haze liable, said The Straits Times.

    Under the proposed Transboundary Haze Pollution Bill, parties whose activities outside Singapore cause unhealthy levels of haze that affect the city-state can be fined up to $300,000. Those affected by the haze can also bring civil suits against errant parties.

    The consultation exercise ends on March 19. Feedback on the draft Bill can be given at

    The dry spell has helped the fires spread in the region, with Malaysia being hit as well.

    Open, peat and bushfires are breaking out at the rate of 305 a day, Malaysia's The Star newspaper said. In the first 18 days of this month, 5,485 such fires were reported, compared with 440 for the whole of February last year.