The Straits Times
Published on Oct 15, 2012

Spike in number of fires in Indonesia this year


THE more serious haze in Singapore this year was caused by a spike in the number of fires in Indonesia.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan said today in Parliament that the number of fires in Indonesia - usually caused by companies clearing land for plantations - had been steadily falling since 2006 until this year.

"Unfortunately, the (number of fires) this year now exceed those in 2006. There has been considerable backsliding," he said.

As of September, for example, there were 13,154 hot-spots in Sumatra alone this year, the highest in that area in the past seven years, according to figures on the Meteorological Service Singapore's website.