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Palm Oil's Bear Market Won't Help Relieve Singapore's Haze

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Singapore Willing to Cooperate With Indonesia on Haze

Nearly a year after haze from Indonesian forest fires created some of the worst air pollution ever in Singapore, fire season is starting again. The Indonesian government agency in charge of disaster mitigation said via a Twitter post on July 13 that an alert was in effect until Oct. 8 for land and forest fires in Central Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo. On July 14, the same agency said over 1,300 hectares (3,212 acres) were already burning in Riau, on the island of Sumatra.

To be fair, it's too early to break out the facemasks and air purifiers: the Sumatra fires are still small. Moreover, it's unclear whether this year's fires will cause haze as bad as the pollution that darkened Singapore's skies in 2015, when the smog led to school closures and disruptions of air and sea traffic. On Sept. 24, Singapore's air pollution index soared to 316, just shy of the record 321 hit in 2013. The pollution from 2015's fires led to S$700 million ($521 million) in losses, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said in March. The damage in Indonesia was far worse, with the World Bank estimating the country suffered losses of $16.1 billion.