Due to the ever-increasing levels of air pollution in Singapore, residents of the city have been urged to stay indoors on June 20, 2013. The pollution increased drastically due to the smoky haze brought by the forest fires in neighboring Indonesia.
Vivian Balakrishnan, environment minister of Singapore, wrote, “This is now the worst haze that Singapore has ever faced”. The smog in Singapore increased as the Indonesian blazes were started by plantation owners, as well as farmers in order to clear the land cheaply. This usually happens annually, in the middle of the year. However, the seriousness of the situation this year has put a strain on the diplomatic ties. On Thursday, June 20, 2013, Singapore demanded a definitive action to be taken by Indonesia regarding the forest fires in Sumatra.
On the other hand, Indonesia states that they are not solely responsible, as Singapore companies have their own plantations on Sumatra, due to which they are equally responsible for the current situation. Agung Laksono, the minister who coordinates the response of Indonesia, says that Singapore must not have a child-like response, as this is not what the Indonesian nation wants.
These comments came when an emergency meeting was hosted by the Foreign Ministry of Indonesia in Jakarta and was attended by Andrew Tan, the chief executive of National Environmental Agency of Singapore.