Singapore may go after agricultural firms blamed for air pollution

June 22, 2013 at 5:59 PM
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SINGAPORE, June 22 (UPI) -- Singapore, enduring record air pollution, is considering legal action against two companies linked to forest-burning in Indonesia, officials said Saturday.

The burning has been blamed for the pollution in Singapore, where the haze is so thick running times of local commuter trains are being reduced, and school events in June have been canceled, The Straits Times reported. The pollution is causing problems in Malaysia and in Indonesia itself, the BBC reported.

Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam said he plans to bring up the burning at a meeting this week of southeast Asian countries. He is urging prosecution of two Indonesian-owned companies headquartered in Singapore, blaming them for setting fires to clear land for palm oil production.

Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, a senior presidential aide in Indonesia, has named three Singapore companies for burning in Riau province, an Indonesian island group about 400 miles northeast of Singapore. Singapore is more concerned about actions on the island of Sumatra to the west, which is much closer.

All three companies denied any illegal actions in Riau, Channel NewsAsia reported.

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