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Last updated at 13:12 BST, Friday, 21 June 2013

Smoke chokes Singapore

Summary

21 June 2013

Smog continues to affect people living in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Singapore's air pollution hit its worst ever level this Friday and officials say the haze could last for several months. The main cause of the pollution is thought to be forest fires caused by the illegal clearing of land on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Reporter:

Karishma Vaswani

Smog over Singapore

Serious air pollution hangs over Singapore

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Report

Singapore says its citizens should remain indoors if they can - cautioning that the thick smog that has blanketed the island could go on until the dry season ends in Sumatra in September.

The smog has strained diplomatic ties between Singapore and Indonesia - two countries that usually share good relations. Singapore says it is up to Indonesia to stop the fires, while Indonesia says it is doing all it can and its own citizens are suffering too.

The haze is an annual problem for this part of the world, caused by smouldering forest fires in Sumatra. Strong winds carry the smoke from the fires to neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia.

This year though, the levels of air pollution are particularly hazardous. The last time this region was so badly affected was in 1997 when the South East Asian haze lasted for months, and reportedly made 20 million people ill.

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Vocabulary

citizens

people who have the right to live in a country

smog

air pollution made of smoke and fog

blanketed

covered

strained

made difficult

diplomatic ties

official relationships between countries

haze

air pollution or weather conditions that make it difficult to see

smouldering

smoking

hazardous

dangerous