Indonesia to Singapore: Life-threatening pollution isn't a big deal, so shut up

Singapore smog
CC BY-SA 2.0 Flickr

Who's behaving "like a child"?

Yesterday, I wrote about the seriously hazardous record-breaking smog in Singapore (so bad, birds are apparently falling from the sky), which is mostly caused by forest fires in neigboring Indonesia (palm oil farmers often set the forest on fire to clear it for new plantations...). You might think that the Indonesian leaders in Jakarta would say something like: "Sorry about that, we're going to try to do a better job of cracking down on palm oil planters who set fires, we're going to try to save our forests, etc..". But instead, this is what happened:

Indonesia yesterday accused Singapore of acting "like a child" over choking smog from forest fires in Sumatra that has triggered the city-state's worst environmental crisis in more than a decade. [...]

The city-state ratcheted up pressure on Jakarta to take "definitive action" to extinguish the fires - but Indonesia, which insists that Singapore-owned plantations on Sumatra also share the blame, hit back.

"Singapore should not be behaving like a child and making all this noise," Agung Laksono, the minister co-ordinating Indonesia's response, said. "This is not what the Indonesian nation wants, it is because of nature."

Not exactly a constructive attitude.

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong urged people to stay indoors and protect themselves from the haze which has hung over the island since Monday, asking citizens to "look out for one another". "We cannot tell how the haze problem will develop," Lee said. "It can easily last for several weeks and quite possibly longer until the dry season ends in Sumatra."



See also: Singapore's record-breaking smog is so bad, birds are falling from the sky

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