Haze has become one of the major causes of international disputes between neighbouring countries as haze travels to nearby countries that have not contributed to the drastic increase in haze production.

A quintessential example of such case is between Malaysia and Indonesia. In 2013, Kuala Lumpur has peaked its air pollution smelling of ash and burnt coal, and the main source is known to be the illegal burning of forests in parts of Indonesia (Sumatra Island, Kalimantan, and Riau) by plantation owners and miners. Most of the pollutants travelled across Strait of Malacca to Malaysia by the wind, and this haze spread across Kuala Lumpur led to intense dispute between the two countries.

In 2002, ASEAN countries adopted agreement of transboundary haze, which states that the issue will be a matter of diplomacy rather than law, most likely to “protect” local (Indonesian) economic “booster”. The weak dispute settlement mechanism has not resolved the issue, and transboundary haze still remains a sensitive topic in politics.


Figure 1. Map showing the wind direction towards Malaysia and Singapore

Image source:http://cai-asia.blogspot.sg/