Public Consultation on Transboundary Haze Pollution Bill

MEWR

Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources

Consultation Period: 19 Feb 2014 - 19 Mar 2014
Status: Closed
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Summary

Public Consultation on Transboundary Haze Pollution Bill

Detailed Description

Introduction

The Ministry of the Environmentand Water Resources (MEWR) is seeking the views of the public on a draft TransboundaryHaze Pollution Bill which introduces new legislative measures against errantcompanies that cause or contribute to transboundary haze pollution inSingapore. The consultation period will last for 4 weeks from 19 February 2014to 19 March 2014.

Background

2 Singapore has been affected by recurrent hazeresulting from land/forest fires in Indonesia since 1991. In 1994, 1997, 2006,2010, and 2013, the haze was particularly severe. In 2013, Singaporeexperienced unprecedented high levels of transboundary haze pollution. The24-hour PSI reached a “Very Unhealthy” level of 246 on 20 Jun 13, far exceedingprevious records in 1997 (138) and 2006 (128). In June 2013, air quality deteriorated into the “VeryUnhealthy” range for 3 days and “Unhealthy” range for 5 days. 

3 Transboundary haze pollution from land and forestfires has an adverse impact on the health of our people and has resulted insignificant disruptions to businesses and livelihoods in Singapore.

Proposed Features of the Bill

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

(A) Extra-territoriality: The Bill covers theoperations of all Singapore and non-Singapore entities whose activities outsideof Singapore contribute to haze pollution in Singapore.   

(B) Criminalliability : The Billmakes it a criminal offence when an entity engages in conduct, or authorises orcondones any conduct  which causes orcontributes to any transboundary haze pollution in Singapore.  A heavy criminal penalty of up to $300,000 maybe imposed.  The fine may increase up to$450,000 if the entity has deliberately ignored requests by the authorities totake appropriate action to prevent, reduce or control transboundary hazepollution. 

(C) Civilliability : Affectedparties may bring civil suits against errant entities that are involved incausing or contributing to the transboundary haze problem in Singapore.  The civil damages recoverable under the Bill willbe determined by the courts of Singapore based on evidence of personal injury,physical damage or economic loss. 

PublicConsultation

5 Interested parties may access the draft Bill and provide feedback. Feedback can also be submitted to MEWR_THPBill@mewr.gov.sg. The consultation exercise will end on 19 March2014.

6 To ensure thatthe consultation exercise is productive and focused, respondents are requestedto observe these guidelines when providing their feedback: 
    • Please identify yourself as well as the organisation you represent (if any) so that we 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.  
7 This draft Bill on transboundary hazepollution is released only for the purpose of consultation and does notrepresent the final Bill. 

8 All comments received during theconsultation exercise will be reviewed thoroughly and, if accepted, will beincorporated into the Bill for introduction in Parliament. 

Summaryof Responses

9 We regret that we will not be able toseparately address or acknowledge every single comment we receive. Instead, wewill consolidate and publish a summary of the key comments received, togetherwith our responses, on the REACH website after the consultation exercisecloses. The summary will maintain confidentiality of the feedback received. Theidentity of respondents will not be disclosed in the summary. 

MINISTRY OF THEENVIRONMENT AND WATER RESOURCES
19 FEBRUARY 2014