Haze crisis: Indonesia hits back as fires rage in Sumatra, Kalimantan

All outsiders should withhold unnecessary comments, said Indonesia's Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar.

Indonesia's Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar hits back at the neighbouring countries after constant criticism for spreading haze and degrading the pollution level. She said that Indonesia respects the complaints from neighbouring countries and the government is trying its best to tackle the haze.

"All outsiders should withhold unnecessary comments but see the efforts which are systematically and seriously being carried out by the government of Indonesia," she said, according to The Straits Times.

The haze is mainly created by Indonesia's land clearing and forest fire in Kalimantan and Sumatra.

According to the news agency, Ms Siti said in a statement that strong law enforcement against perpetrators and patrol teams have helped to reduce the number of hotspots across the country.

On August 19, Malaysia experienced severe haze. Cities in the country had recorded moderate to high API (air pollutant index) readings.

Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, The Natural Resources and Environment Minister, said that the forest fire in Indonesia's Kalimantan and Sumatra is the reason for the haze. He also said that he will be informing the neighbouring country about the environmental hazard.

"We don't want to pick a fight but we just want to notify them that the haze is back," he said, as reported by The Straits Times.

Malaysia also extended its support to Indonesia to combat the haze by deploying manpower and resource. According to Channel NewsAsia, Cabinet Minister Shahidan Kassim said Malaysia is ready to send two Bombardier aircraft, capable of transporting 6000 litres, to Indonesia.

"We are ready to assist Indonesia. But there are has been no official request yet; the two bombardiers are ready to go,"said Shahidan, according to the news agency.

The peat fire has also shrouded parts of neighbouring Singapore in a thick blanket of smog.

On August 26, Singaporeans posted on social media photos of the hazy Singapore skyline as they detected burning smell in parts of the nation. According to the National Environment Agency (NEA), as at 10 am (Singapore local time), the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) was 51-62 in the moderate level.

However, the air quality improved as the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) returned to the moderate range at 70-100 on Sunday, two days after the severe haze crisis.

The haze is generally caused by the illegal slash-and-burn cultivation widely practiced in Indonesia.