Friday, December 25, 2015

ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution

By Anton Antonio
December 26, 2015

Haze is traditionally an atmospheric phenomenon where dust, smoke and other dry particles obscure the clarity of the sky.  The Association of South East Asian Nations or ASEAN, even when their geographical locations are characterized by water body separation, are often affected by haze pollution from peat and forest fires from a neighbour nation.  Because of this, an agreement on haze pollution is in order.

“The ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution is a legally binding environmental agreement signed in 2002 by all ASEAN nations to reduce haze pollution in Southeast Asia.  The Agreement recognizes that transboundary haze pollution which results from land and/or forest fires should be mitigated through concerted national efforts and international co-operation.  As of September 2014, all ten ASEAN countries have ratified the haze agreement.  The Agreement is a reaction to an environmental crisis that hit Southeast Asia in the late 1990s.  The crisis was mainly caused by land clearing for agricultural uses via open burning on the Indonesian Island of Sumatra.  Satellite images confirmed the presence of hot spots throughout Kalimantan/Borneo, Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula and several other places, with an estimated 45,000 square kilometers of forest and land burnt.  Malaysia, Singapore and to a certain extent, Thailand and Brunei were particularly badly affected.  The haze is nearly an annual occurrence in some ASEAN nations.  Dangerous levels of haze usually coincide with the dry season from June to September when the southwest monsoon is in progress.  Southwest monsoon winds shift the haze from Sumatra, Indonesia towards the Malay Peninsula and Singapore, sometimes creating a thick haze that can last for weeks.  The agreement was established in 2002, though has some foundation in a 1990 agreement made among ASEAN Ministers of Environment which called for efforts leading to the harmonisation of transboundary pollution prevention and abatement practices.  The treaty also builds on the 1995 ASEAN Cooperation Plan on Transboundary Pollution and the 1997 Regional Haze Action Plan.  This treaty is an attempt to bring the action plan into function.”  (Wikipedia)

There are several international agreements --- that are aimed at mitigating the effects of global warming and climate change… and, in this case, the transboundary haze pollution --- have already been passed and agreed upon by a majority of participating countries.  The next set of blogs/articles will be devoted to these international accords to increase the level of awareness on their history, aims and objectives.  One such international accord is the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

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Wikipedia, (2015).  “ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution”.  Retrieved on December 26, 2015 from

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