KUCHING: ASEAN countries must meet to resolve transboundary haze and smog pollution that pose a serious threat to the health and well-being of the people in the region, said prominent social activist Datuk Seri Ang Lai Soon.
He said ASEAN countries needed to take the recurring problem more seriously this time as they had met a few times over the years, even though it appeared actions taken were ineffective.
“We certainly want the ASEAN countries involved to meet and talk, but a firm stand must be taken. This recurring pollution problem must be solved once and for all.
“A definitive action is certainly in order. An action that will produce satisfactory and effective result is all that the citizens of these affected countries ask for. No more and no less,” he said in a statement here today.
Describing the much dreaded haze or smog pollution as “the common enemy right before us”, he said Malaysia and Indonesia are suffering the most at the moment.
“Bangkok and Jakarta have always been polluted by vehicle and factory emissions and their citizens have been suffering in silence all these years with the pollution breaking record levels ever so often there,” he said.
However, he is confident that Malaysia with Singapore would be able to play the key role in gradually making the recurrent pollution a thing of the past by addressing the issue seriously with sustainable solutions.
Ang said many countries have strict laws on pollution and burning, but enforcement seemed to be a problem, particularly in developing or underdeveloped countries.
As such, he said there must be a serious joint effort to tackle this health problem with a treaty which would make enforcement a serious matter and to deter the people from committing acts detrimental to human health and the economy of the countries.
He said babies and young children, senior citizens, pregnant mothers, the sick, particularly those with heart or lung problems, were very much affected by haze and smog brought about by forest fires and the annual clearing of land to open up huge plantations.