South East Asian states unite to fight smog

Five countries in South East Asia have signed up to an agreement calling on them to pool resources to fight the smog from Indonesian forest fires which cost the regional economy hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand and Indonesia itself have decided to join forces to combat the annual problem, which starts when poor rural farmers torch the forests surrounding their fields as a cheap and effective way of clearing land.

These fires often get out of control and are frequently in areas inaccessible by road, making putting them out extremely difficult.

The smog was at its worse for ten years this autumn, leading to the closure of airports, offices and schools.

The international anti-haze plan will see the signatories funding more fire fighters as well as education projects and subsidies for forest farmers, in an attempt to discourage them from starting the fires in the first place.

Sam Bond

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