NASA satellites have captured striking images of vast palls of smoke billowing from wildfires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The smoke has been moving east and has descended on Malaysia and Singapore, pushing air pollution to record levels.
Many are blaming the land-clearing fires on Sumatran palm-oil plantations. Palm-oil firms – some of which are based in Malaysia and Singapore – have been accused of using illegal slash-and-burn techniques to clear space for their plantations.
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong warned that the haze could “easily last for several weeks and quite possibly longer until the dry season ends in Sumatra.” Singapore’s foreign minister said he had asked the attorney-general to consider possible legal options. However, he said it was mainly up to Indonesia to take action against the companies.
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