• Indon smog blamed on burning plantations

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    JAKARTA: Fires on Indonesia’s Sumatra, which have cloaked Singapore in record-breaking smog, are raging on palm oil plantations owned by Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean companies, environmental activist group Greenpeace International said on Saturday.

    “NASA hotspot data in Sumatra over the past 10 days (11-21 June) has revealed hundreds of fire hotspots in palm oil concessions that are owned by Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean companies,” the group said.

    Singapore’s smog index hit the critical 400 level on Friday, making it potentially life-threatening to the ill and elderly, a government monitoring site said. On Saturday morning, the reading was at 323, still in the “hazardous” zone.

    Parts of Malaysia close to Singapore have also been severely affected by the smog this week.

    “Fires across Sumatra are wreaking havoc for millions of people in the region and destroying the climate. Palm oil producers must immediately deploy fire crews to extinguish these fires,”said Bustar Maitar, head of Greenpeace Indonesia’s forest campaign.

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