Aalhi calls for tighter control of peat land restoration process

Aalhi calls for tighter control of peat land restoration process

Peat land fir in Kubu Raya District, West Kalimantan, recently (ANTARA PHOTO/Sugeng Hendratno)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Non-governmental organization on environmental advocacy Walhi has urged the government to tighten control over peat land restoration process to prevent forest fires.

Campaign chief of Walhi Khalisah Khalid said information from the Environment and Forestry Ministry about peat land restoration by corporations was limited only to revision of working plan (RKU) with no information about the progress of the implementation.

The biggest challenge in the effort to cope with forest and peat land fires is the powerful corporate actors, which have so far been behind the forest fire problem, Khalisah said here on Wednesday.

The law enforcement commitment issued by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) in 2015 and early 2016, had been weakened in the name of something irreversible giving corporations excuse to continue non compliance with the law, he said.

Law enforcement is more in the form of administrative sanction that gave no deterrent effect on corporations, he said.

Ironically, the targets of law enforcement had been diverted from corporations to local people, the farmers, he said.

The various statement of `shoot the perpetrators on sight` showed that security officers had failed to see that forest and peat land fires are structural problem caused by legal offense by actors with economic power, he added.

"We urge the President to immediately issue a policy of moratorium in oil palm plantation and large investment in other mono-culture. Otherwise we doubt we could ever reach the reform target in the forest and ecosystem of peat land management, and forest and peat land fires would continue to be a problem as restoration is much more difficult," he said.

South Kalimantan`s Walhi Director Kisworo Dwi Cahyono said committing forest and peat land on fire is an extraordinary crime, therefore, the president should establish a special court for environmental cases.

Walhi said law enforcement had failed in preventing forest and peat land fires in West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, South Sumatra.

The government should not be serious in fighting forest fires only because of the Asian Games, South Sumatra`s Walhi Director Muhammad Hairul Sobri said.

The country is hosting the 18th Asian Games held in Palembang, South Sumatra and Jakarta, and the government has sent police and the military to ensure that no forest fires that could send smokes to disrupt the event in Palembang.

Based on Walhi`s data from January to August 14, 2,173 hot spots were detected in various areas in the country including 779 in West Kalimantan and 368 in Riau.

Reporting by Virna P Setyorini

(AS)

(T.SYS/B/H-ASG/S022) 23-08-2018 11:49:47

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