JEAIL > Volume 10(1); 2017 > Student Contribution
Research Paper
Published online: May 30, 2017

Transboundary Haze Pollution in Southeast Asia: The Effectiveness of Three Forms of International Legal Solutions

Kexian Ng
67 Jalan Songket, S'537438, Singapore Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non- commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Every September and October, entities in the palm oil and timber industries in Indonesia conduct slash-and-burn activities over peat land, causing transboundary 'haze' pollution. This paper analyzes the effectiveness of various legal solutions to tackle the transboundary haze pollution. There are mainly three forms of international law, customary international law, the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze 2002 and Singapore's extraterritorial Transboundary Haze Pollution Act 2014. Their effectiveness will be measured by Indonesia's increasing willingness to take domestic enforcement measures. This paper argues that the ASEAN Agreement is the primary instrument despite its lack of sanctions as it is neutral, non-confrontational and consistent with the 'ASEAN way.' The Singapore Act plays a complementary role, yet its invocation may strain relations between Singapore and Indonesia. Ultimately, the three forms of international law serve as a normative and facilitative source in nudging Indonesia to take more stringent domestic enforcement measures.

Keywords : International Environmental Law, Transboundary Air Pollution, Southeast Asia, Haze, Singapore, Indonesia, ASEAN

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