Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Singapore - ASEAN-wide early warning system proposed to combat haze

SINGAPORE: An ASEAN-wide early warning system on potential hotspots may be in the works. This comes at the end of a meeting by the ministerial steering committee on transboundary haze held in Brunei, which agreed to propose the development of an ASEAN-wide Fire Danger Rating Systems (FDRS), to the region's leaders.

The system, which is currently deployed in Indonesia and Malaysia, provides early warning on potential fire occurrences. This enables countries to prepare and take preventive actions during dry weather periods.

Singapore's Environment and Water Resources Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, who was at the meeting, said: "I hope we are on the verge or the threshold to launch a ASEAN-wide FDRS, based on real-time data from all the countries, integrated, analysed and presented in a way that will be accessible to everyone.

"So we have asked the ASEAN Secretary to work with the countries to consider putting this up to the ASEAN leaders. This is something which has been done for some time now. Malaysia has been taking the lead. It requires all the countries to install the automated weather system as well as to supply the necessary on-the-ground data, things like where your peatlands are, where your forests cover.

"The important thing is (that the FDRS) allows you to make a predictive model to access which areas are at risk... At the moment, the main countries involved are Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand."

The ministers noted that drier weather is expected between June and mid-October, so member states have agreed to remain vigilant and step up efforts to minimise the effects of any transboundary haze.

The various ASEAN countries are also monitoring the regional hotspots and weather outlook, as Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei have extended their help to Indonesia to combat the problem.


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