Govt proposes new haze law aimed at errant parties; public views sought

February 20, 201410:32 am271 views
Govt proposes new haze law aimed at errant parties; public views sought
Govt proposes new haze law aimed at errant parties; public views sought

SINGAPORE – Under the proposed Transboundary Haze Pollution Bill, parties whose activities outside Singapore cause unhealthy levels of haze that affect the island-state, can be fined up to $300,000. If they deliberately ignore requests to prevent or control haze, they can be fined up to $450,000.

 
Get the full story from The Straits Times .

Full details from the Government feedback arm Reach:

The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) is seeking the views of the public on a draft Transboundary Haze Pollution Bill.

The bill introduces new legislative measures against errant companies that cause or contribute to transboundary haze pollution in Singapore.

The consultation period will last for four weeks from February 19, 2014 to March 19, 2014.

Singapore has been affected by recurrent haze resulting from land or forest fires in Indonesia since 1991.

In 1994, 1997, 2006, 2010, and 2013, MEWR noted that the haze was particularly severe. In 2013, Singapore experienced unprecedented high levels of transboundary haze pollution.

The 24-hour PSI reached a “Very Unhealthy” level of 246 on Jun 20, 2013 – far exceeding previous records in 1997 (138) and 2006 (128). In June 2013, air quality deteriorated into the “Very Unhealthy” range for three days and “Unhealthy” range for five days.

MEWR further noted that the transboundary haze pollution from land and forest fires has an adverse impact on the health of our people and has resulted in significant disruptions to businesses and livelihoods in Singapore.

Proposed features of the Bill

The legislation will provide for criminal and civil liability for causing or contributing to transboundary haze pollution in Singapore. Some of the key features of the Bill are:

(A) Extra-territorialityThe Bill covers the operations of all Singapore and non-Singapore entities whose activities outside of Singapore contribute to haze pollution in Singapore.

(B) Criminal liability: The Bill makes it a criminal offence when an entity engages in conduct, or authorises or condones any conduct which causes or contributes to any transboundary haze pollution in Singapore.

A heavy criminal penalty of up to $300,000 may be imposed. The fine may increase up to $450,000 if the entity has deliberately ignored requests by the authorities to take appropriate action to prevent, reduce or control transboundary haze pollution.

(C) Civil liability: Affected parties may bring civil suits against errant entities that are involved in causing or contributing to the transboundary haze problem in Singapore. The civil damages recoverable under the Bill will be determined by the courts of Singapore based on evidence of personal injury, physical damage or economic loss.

Public Consultation

Interested parties may access the draft Bill here and provide feedback. Feedback can also be submitted to MEWR_THPBill@mewr.gov.sg. This draft Bill on transboundary haze pollution is released only for the purpose of consultation and does not represent the final Bill.

To ensure that the consultation exercise is productive and focused, respondents are requested to observe these guidelines when providing their feedback: P

– Please identify yourself as well as the organisation you represent (if any) so that MEWR may follow up with you to clarify any issues, if necessary.

– Please be clear and concise in your comments.

– Please focus your comments on the draft Bill and how it can be improved.

– As far as possible, please explain your points with illustrations, examples, data or alternative suggestions.

All comments received during the consultation exercise will be reviewed thoroughly and, if accepted, will be incorporated into the Bill for introduction in Parliament, MEWR said.

A summary of the key comments received will be compiled and published together with MEWR’s responses on the REACH website after the consultation exercise closes. Feedback received will be kept confidential and the identity of respondents will not be disclosed in the summary, MEWR added.

 

source: yourhealth.asiaone.com

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