The Indonesian National Assembly (NA) ratified the ASEAN Agreement on Trans-boundary Haze Pollution, which was signed by the country’s Government 12 years ago, on September 16.

Under the ratification decision, the Indonesia government will have to enhance its policies and measures, mobilise national resources and closely coordinate with other ASEAN member countries in a bid to deal with forest fires.

Addressing immediately after the striking event, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, praised the law-making body’s rational decision and affirmed that the government always pays attention to smoke-related issues.

According to some information sources, annual raging fires in forests in Sumatra Island, Riau and Borneo are fuelled by not only dry weather, but also reckless citizens’ clearing-land activities.

Local authorities said many companies producing paper and palm oil, including some from Indonesia’s neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia, had destroyed the forests to expand their businesses.

Every year, Singapore and Malaysia suffer extremely polluted blanket of smoke generated from forest fires in West Indonesia, adversely affecting diplomatic relations among the three countries.-VNA