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Asean ministers to discuss haze pollution

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:
Asean Ministerial Meeting on Environment and related meeting held in Siem Reap. KT/Pann Rachana

Siem Reap city, Sieam Reap province – Senior Asean environment officials yesterday began meeting in Siem Reap province to discuss a host of issues, including transboundary haze pollution which affects several nations in the region.

Air pollution levels recently reached dangerous levels in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Thailand following forest fires in Indonesia.

The issue will be tackled today during the 15th Asean Ministerial Meeting for the Environment, which will be opened by Deputy Prime Minister Aun Porn Moniroth who will represent Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Environment Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra yesterday said Asean ministers will also review three documents, including the draft Asean Joint Statement on Climate Change to the 25th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework, the draft Asean Strategic Plan on the Environment, and the Request to Designate 5 National Parks in Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam as Asean Heritage Parks.

“Asean environmental ministers will discuss a wide range of issues on regional cooperation on the environment, including climate change, environmental sustainability, biodiversity conservation, coastal and marine environment, environmental education, water resource management, chemical and hazardous waste management, transboundary haze pollution control and eco-schools,” he said.

Mr Pheaktra said transboundary haze pollution is being discussed because it is a major concern and ministers will discuss how to come up with mechanisms to control it.

“Asean member countries will discuss this issue to find a joint mechanism to solve and control transboundary haze pollution,” he said.

Mr Pheaktra said Cambodia will propose having joint forces from member countries to help tackle forest fires which occur in any Asean country.

“If forest fires occur in any member country, Asean will jointly tackle them to reduce haze pollution instead of merely pinning the blame on any one country and asking it to solve the problem alone,” he said. “Cambodia does not suffer from haze pollution and the air quality in Cambodia is good. ”

Mr Pheaktra said there will also be an Asean-Japan Ministerial Dialogue on Environment Cooperation to review the progress of ongoing cooperation and recent initiatives, such as the verification system of environmental technology, technology transfer and marine plastic waste.

“Cambodia is also organising the 3rd Asean Eco-Schools Award, and the 1st Asean Youth Eco-Champions Award ceremony in conjunction with the meetings,” he noted.

Mr Pheaktra said that the environmental ministers from 14 countries will also participate in a ceremony to plant Kravan flowers in front of Angkor Wat Temple.

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