Southeast Asia braces for pollution, smog

June 30, 2012 at 12:40 PM   |   Comments

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, June 30 (UPI) -- Southeast Asian officials said they want to address smog and pollution issues in advance of the dry season that begins in July and can last up to three weeks.

Malaysia's environment officials said Saturday the country was affected by poor air quality caused by transboundary haze, which could become more of a problem when the dry season begins, Bikyamasr.com reported.

Leaders of Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries said they will seek a regional solution to transboundary haze.

Malaysian Natural Resources and Environment Minister Douglas Uggah Embas said he met counterparts from Singapore and Brunei while at the Earth Summit in Brazil earlier in June to discuss holding a regional meeting on the haze problem before a September meeting in Bali, Indonesia.

"The three of us agreed to meet earlier than the scheduled meeting in September," Embas said. "We would like to bring it forward a lot earlier, so that we can review each other's strategies. The problem will get worse because the weather will be drier in August and September."

The haze and pollution issues are caused, in part, by certain farming practices, peat fires and forest fires, environmental consultants told Bikyamasr.com.

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