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更新时间:2015-10-10 9:59:36 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Southeast Asia, Choking on Haze, Struggles for a Solution

SINGAPORE — Savir Singh’s taxi rolled into downtown Singapore, taking an overpass that provides a stunning view of the popular hotels and tourist attractions around Marina Bay.

新加坡——萨维尔·辛格(Savir Singh)的出租车驶进新加坡市中心,开上了一座立交桥。那里景色壮丽,人们可以将滨海湾周边的热门酒店和旅游景点一览眼底。

The only problem was that he could barely see them. Thick haze from forest fires set in neighboring Indonesia to clear land for agriculture has blanketed this island state for weeks, and has spread to Malaysia and southern Thailand.


While many Singaporeans have sought refuge from the pollution in their homes, offices or shopping malls, Mr. Singh’s only haven is his mobile workplace, and a small bottle of eyedrops lying near his armrest.


“Look at this,” he said, pointing to the partly obscured Singapore Flyer, a 540-foot-tall Ferris wheel. “I wish they had haze in Jakarta. Then the government there would do something about it.”

“你看看,”他指着有些模糊的新加坡摩天观景轮(Singapore Flyer)说。“我希望雅加达也有雾霾。这样那里的政府就会采取点行动了。”新加坡摩天观景轮是一座高540英尺(约合165米)的摩天轮。

Mr. Singh’s anger is part and parcel of a near-annual ritual: Fires set in Sumatra and the Indonesian side of Borneo blanket parts of Southeast Asia with smoke for weeks. While this has been going on for decades, an especially long dry season this year coupled with the effects of El Niño, threaten to make it the worst on record, scientists say.


Around the region, flights have been grounded, schools have been closed, and tens of thousands of people have sought medical treatment for respiratory problems, allergies, eczema and other ailments. The first night of an international sports competition, the FINA Swimming World Cup, set for last Saturday and hosted by Singapore, was canceled because of health concerns — as was a marathon in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysia capital, set to be run the next morning.

在该地区各地,航班停飞,学校停课,数万人因呼吸疾病、过敏、湿疹和其他病症而求医。出于健康方面的考虑,由新加坡主办、定于上周六举行的国际性体育赛事国际泳联世界杯短池游泳赛(FINA Swimming World Cup)第一天晚上的活动被取消。此外,定于第二天早上在马来西亚首都吉隆坡举行的一场马拉松比赛也被取消。

This year, there have been more vocal complaints from people affected in Singapore, Malaysia and even in Indonesia. There has also been high-profile sniping among government leaders, along with lawsuits, investigations and arrests of accused fire-starters — a familiar replay from 2013, when the region suffered its last major bout of haze.


After the skies cleared in 2013, the issue was once again forgotten — until last month, when the crisis erupted anew.


The consensus this year is the same as it was then: The slash-and-burn techniques used in Indonesia’s palm oil industry are continuing unabated, and there is no magic bullet for ending the practice — or the haze it causes — in the short term.


Finding the long-term solution requires reducing agriculture in Indonesia’s carbon-rich peatland, curtailing slash-and-burn methods for clearing land and halting the conversions of forests to agricultural uses including palm oil, said Peter Holmgren, director general of the Center for International Forestry Research, a global scientific organization with its headquarters in Bogor, Indonesia.

总部位于印尼茂物的全球性科学组织国际林业研究中心(Center for International Forestry Research)总干事彼得·霍姆格伦(Peter Holmgren)表示,找到长期解决办法需要减少印尼在碳含量丰富的泥炭地的农业种植、限制砍烧这种开荒方式,并停止把林地变成农业用地和生产棕榈油的土地。

“Fire is the most cost-effective way of clearing, which is why it is done,” he said.


Finding a permanent solution is daunting enough, but more than a month into the crisis, it seems that the region cannot curb the haze in the short term. Indonesia says that its military personnel are battling more than 1,000 forest-fire clusters, while Greenpeace says that figure does not include fires that started aboveground on peatland and are now burning out of control.


Up until Wednesday, Indonesia had rebuffed offers by neighbors to help it battle the blazes and had even admonished Singaporean and Malaysian leaders for daring to complain about the haze.


On Thursday, President Joko Widodo of Indonesia said his government had requested “help and assistance” the day before from Singapore and Malaysia, as well as Russia and Japan, in getting the peatland fires under control, according to a statement released by his cabinet secretariat.

不过,印尼总统佐科·威多多(Joko Widodo)的内阁秘书处已经发表声明,说总统周四表示,他领导的政府已于前一天请求新加坡和马来西亚,以及俄罗斯和日本,在控制泥炭地上的火势上提供“帮助和支援”。

Mr. Joko said his government had specifically requested firefighting aircraft with a water-carrying capacity of 12 to 15 tons, saying that Indonesian planes currently fighting the blazes have carrying capacities of between two and three tons.


The aid request seemed to reflect a new seriousness from the Indonesian government.


Late last month, the country’s outspoken vice president, Jusuf Kalla, repeated a statement he made earlier in the year in which he said that neighboring countries “should be grateful” to Indonesia for the clean air they have the other 11 months of the year.

上月末,该国说话并不婉转的副总统优素福·卡拉(Jusuf Kalla)重复了他今年早些时候的言论,声称对一年中其他11个月的好天气,邻国“应该感谢”印度尼西亚。

During the 2013 haze crisis, Agung Laksono, a senior Indonesian cabinet minister at the time, compared Singaporean leaders to a child having a temper tantrum after they complained about the impact that thick haze was having on tourism, which is a major contributor to Singapore’s economy.

2013年烟雾危机期间,在新加坡领导人抱怨浓烟影响了新加坡重要的经济支柱旅游业后,当时担任印尼内阁高级部长的阿贡·拉克索诺(Agung Laksono)把他们比作乱发脾气的小孩。

“It’s like a blame game,” said Bustar Maitar, global leader of the Indonesia Forest Campaign at Greenpeace.

“像是在互相推卸责任,”绿色和平印度尼西亚森林项目(Indonesia Forest Campaign)全球负责人布斯塔尔·迈塔尔(Bustar Maitar)说。

“Of course all the fires are coming from Indonesia, but Singapore is enjoying the ‘deforestation economy’ of Indonesia as a financial center,” he said, “and there are many Malaysian palm oil companies operating in Indonesia, and Singaporean companies are there as well.”


Ultimately, Mr. Maitar said, the cycle will continue until rain forest deforestation is severely curtailed in Indonesia, where it remains rampant, and the Indonesian government bans the draining and clearing of peatland for agricultural use. Currently, Indonesian government policy allows peatland of less than about nine feet deep to be cleared.


“That’s the only long-term way to stop haze,” he said.


Then there is the issue of who is responsible for the fires. As in 2013, this time around, there has been ample finger-pointing: Multinational palm oil companies, pulp and paper companies, the smaller plantations that sell to them, traditional farmers and even day laborers have all been blamed for starting the fires — and they in turn have blamed one another.


On Wednesday, NTUC FairPrice, Singapore’s largest supermarket chain, released a statement saying it had pulled from its shelves toilet paper and other products sourced from Indonesia’s Asia Pulp & Paper, one of the world’s largest pulp and paper companies.

周三,新加坡最大的连锁超市职总平价超市(NTUC FairPrice)发布了一则声明,声称已将从印尼的亚洲浆纸业有限公司(Asia Pulp & Paper,又称金光纸业,简称APP)采购的厕纸等产品下架。后者是全世界最大的浆纸业公司之一。

The supermarket said it had made the move “following notification from the Singapore Environment Council that it has instituted a temporary restriction on the use of the ‘Singapore Green Label’ certification for A.P.P. products,” the statement said.

超市在声明中称,做出此举是“遵循新加坡环境理事会(Singapore Environment Council)的通知行事。其中表示,该机构开始实行一项临时规定,禁止对APP的产品进行‘新加坡绿色标志’认证”。

On Monday, the council had released a statement saying that it took action after an Asia Pulp & Paper subsidiary was “one of five companies named by the National Environment Agency (NEA) suspected to be contributing to the haze pollution.”

周一,理事会曾发表声明称,APP的一家子公司“被新加坡国家环境局(National Environment Agency,简称NEA)列为涉嫌制造烟雾污染的五家公司之一”后,促使它采取了行动。

Aida Greenbury, managing director of sustainability for Asia Pulp & Paper, said in a statement on Thursday that the company was “firmly against” the intentional setting of forest fires and would disengage from any supplier proven guilty of illegally starting one.

APP负责可持续发展的执行董事艾达·格林伯里(Aida Greenbury)在周四发表的声明中称,公司“坚决反对”故意放火烧林,并将与一切证明犯有非法纵火罪行的供应商解除关系。

“We understand why FairPrice feels the need to take urgent action and we feel the same urgency also in addressing this haze issue, but accuracy is just as important,” she said. “The fire situation is complex, and both the Singapore and Indonesia governments, and authorities are still investigating the situation.”


Ang Peng Hwa, a university professor and founder of an antihaze activist group in Singapore, is promoting an American model for dealing with environmental negligence: suing those responsible, using a law passed by the Singaporean Parliament in 2014.

在新加坡创立了一个反烟雾活动团体的大学教授汪炳华(Ang Peng Hwa)正在倡导美国处理环境疏忽的模式:用新加坡议会2014年通过的一项法律起诉责任人。

Mr. Ang noted that under the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act, Singapore-listed companies involved in illegal land clearance in Indonesia can be sued in civil court for causing financial losses to businesses and individuals.

汪炳华指出,按照《跨境阴霾污染法令》(Transboundary Haze Pollution Act)的规定,与印尼非法垦荒活动有牵连的新加坡上市公司,可以因为给企业和个人造成经济损失而被告上民事法庭。

People have been coming forward to say that they have lost business because of the haze, Mr. Ang said. The prospective plaintiffs include a sporting events company and a sports training academy, though no lawsuits have yet been filed under the new law.


Possible injured parties include upscale hotels that suffer canceled bookings during haze periods and the organizers of the annual F1 Singapore Grand Prix. The F1 race was held on Sept. 20 despite concerns about air quality.


The problem, Mr. Ang said, is that it is very difficult to determine liability because “there are layers that protect ultimate owners of companies.”


Yet, he said, the fact that some people have already come forward asking about financial compensation for haze through Singapore’s courts leads to an inescapable conclusion that should concern governments around the region. “People are getting more angry, more worked up.”


Whether that anger will lead to more lasting change is yet to be seen. Mr. Ang is not optimistic. “They burn for a period, everyone gets upset, and then people forget,” he said of the fires.