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Countries should work together instead of blame each other for haze: legal experts

Published on Feb 27, 2014 4:00 PM

To solve the haze problem, countries need to cooperate rather than just hold each other responsible for pollution; they should also view the problem in terms of economic interdependence, said legal experts at a conference on transboundary pollution on Thursday.

Singapore Institute of International Affairs think-tank chairman Simon Tay suggested four key elements that make transboundary pollution agreements successful: agreed-on standards and monitoring of pollution, deeper scientific understanding of the harms that pollution cause, regional institutions, and domestic constituencies that speak out against pollution.

Currently, these are absent from the Asean agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution. For example, the effects of long-term exposure to air pollution are known. But the effects of seasonal haze that lingers for days or weeks should also be studied.

University of Oslo environmental-law emeritus professor Hans Christian Bugge agreed, adding that cooperation involved setting common goals and targets, and a long-term commitment from parties.

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