The Government will Take Some Actions to Overcome Forest Fire
Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya admitted that she understands if the people living in fire-prone regions are fed up with the smoke. However, the Minister ensures, the Government will not stand still and will work hard as well as nonstop to overcome forest and land fires that currently happen in some areas.
I ensure, the Government will not stand still and will work hard as well as non stop to overcome forest and land fires. We dont want this ecologic disaster makes some areas covered with smoke for months just like last year, Minister Siti firmly stated in a press release issued by Ministry of Environment and Forestrys Public Relations Office, a while ago.
The Minister affirmed that she monitors the condition of the thick smoke in Duri, Dumai, and other areas in Riau. Meanwhile in Pekanbaru, in the morning, some areas are still blanketed by smoke although the level of Air Pollution Standard Index (ISPU) is still good. My heart and mind go to the people living in the areas that suffer from smoke, she stated.
According to the Minister, the Head of National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) and Head of Peat Restoration Agency are currently in Riau. She also said that they have exerted maximum efforts to extinguish the fire by adding two more helicopters and more equipments as well as support from TNI (Indonesian National Defence Forces)/Polri (Indonesian National Police) personnels.
Moreover, the Provincial Governments have also declared Emergency Standby Status in some areas, such as in Riau, South Sumatera, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, Jambi, and South Kalimantan Provinces.
In addition, there is also an integrated patrol as an effort to synergize all parties to prevent land and forest fires, involving the community, Manggala Agni, forest police, TNI, Polri, the press, Non-Governmental Organization, and local figures. The hierarchy of this patrol comprising of Command Post (Posko) of Village, Command Post of Operational Area, Command Post of Province (Natural Resources Conservation Center/National Park), and National Post at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.
Our work target is clear. Dont let the people again suffer from the smoke like the previous years. We want to maximally reduce the hotspots, Minister Siti firmly said.
Concerning the complaints from neighboring countries, the Minister said that she respects the complaints. However, she affirmed that the Government does not work under other countries pressure. Indonesia has a principle to maintain the worlds order in peace, she said.
Therefore, Siti Nurbaya encourages all outside parties to hold their unnecessary comments and see the efforts that have been taken sistematically and seriously by the Government of Indonesia. The success of the efforts is reflected from the reduction of hotspots and smoke coverage areas, compared with the same period in previous years.
At the beginning of her press release, Minister Siti Nurbaya said that now Indonesia is entering a crucial time of forest and land fires. Although the hotspots reduced significantly up to 70-90 percent, alertness level would be increased because dry season will come soon.
The Minister mentioned that the amount of hotspots in 2016, compared to 2015 (1 January-28 August period), from the monitoring of NOAA18/19 satellite, has decreased from 8,247 spots to 2,356 spots or decreasing more than 74.64 percent.
The biggest decrease takes place in Riau and Central Kalimantan Provinces. In Riau, at the same period in 2015, there were 1,292 hotspots, while this year it decreases to 317 spots. In Central Kalimantan, the hotspots decrease from 1,137 to 56.
Meanwhile, based on TERRA/AQUA sattelite monitoring, at the same period, Siti added, the hotspots in 2016 decreases 74.70 percent compared to that of 2015. Last year, there were 11,690 hotspots, now it decreases to 2,937 spots, she said.
This significant decrease is the result from the nonstop effort of integrated team. They work every day, even in holiday, and spend the night at the location to prevent the fires spreading to another areas. In the meantime, several aircrafts are deployed to put out the fires at the locations that are hard to reach through roadway, the Minister said.
However, the Minister reminded that the current condition is a critical time and we are grateful because the hotspots still can be reduced. She mentioned that the smoke appears fluctuativelly depends on natural factors such as wind direction.
Besides the hard work from integrated team, it also need to give punishment to the perpetrators who intentionally burn the land. From the satellite monitoring, it can be seen that there are some areas that are intentionally burned and it spreads causing the smoke, Siti explained.
The Minister believes with togetherness, seriousness, and honesty of all parties in assuming their responsibilities this chronic ecological problem can be solved.
The Minister admitted that the result of all efforts to fix the damages cannot be seen immediately. However, the Government tries to do the best for the people so that they do not always suffer from smoke.
The hotspots should be reduced, the smoke should be handled, and the perpetrators should get punishment. The people must be encouraged not to open the land by burning it. It is for their own good so that they can live in harmony with the nature, Siti said. (RMI/Humas Kementerian LHK/ES)(MMB/YM/Naster)