We only react when the condition is bad. Such repeated incidents have wasted a lot of energy of various parties that have to deal with it
Pontianak, West Kalimantan (ANTARA) - Smog arising from forest fires in West Kalimantan has threatened business activities and prospects in the province, Chairman of the Indonesian Businessmen Association (Apindo) chapter in Pontianak Andreas Acui Simanjaya stated.

"The impact of haze has been huge, both on health and business. This necessitates attention from all parties," he remarked here on Saturday.

“Smog during every dry season has become a scourge since long, and it had yet to be tackled permanently," he added.

"We only react when the condition is bad. Such repeated incidents have wasted significant amounts of energy of various parties that have to deal with it," he pointed out.

Simanjaya suggested two solutions to stop forest fires, the first being increasing public awareness to ensure that the practice of setting fires for land clearance is halted. Second, legal enforcement must be imposed firmly to deter others from burning forest and peatland areas.

He cited that smog from forest fires could affect public health and flight schedules, trigger complaints from neighboring countries, and waste both finances and energy of the government that has to work hard to put out the wildfires.

Simanjaya praised the forest fire task forces comprising firefighters, military and police officers, as well as volunteers, who have to struggle to extinguish the forest and peatland fires.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian Environmental Affairs and Forestry Ministry recorded 2,070 hotspots, with a confidence rate at over 80 percent, during the January-July 2019 period, based on monitoring of the Terra and Aqua Modis satellites.

"The number of hotspots was higher than that in 2018 but lower than that recorded in 2015," Eva Famurianty, head of the Early Warning and Detection Section of the Climate Change Mitigation Directorate General of the ministry, remarked in Jakarta, recently.

In 2018, the number of hotspots across Indonesia had reached 1,338, up from 362 in 2017.

During the same period, the Landsat satellite image indicated that a total of 135,747 hectares of forest areas were razed by fires. The indicative gutted forest areas comprised 31,002 hectares of peatland areas and 104,746 hectares of mineral land areas.

The ministry's Director of Forest Fire Mitigation Raffles B. Panjaitan remarked that of the eight provinces prone to forest fires, six have declared an emergency status for forest fire.

The six provinces are Riau, with the emergency status declared from Feb 19 to Oct 31, or 255 days; West Kalimantan (from Feb 12 to Dec 31, or 323 days); South Sumatra (March 8-Oct 31, or 237 days); Central Kalimantan (May 28-Aug 26, or 91 days); South Kalimantan (June 1-Oct 31, or 153 days); and Jambi (July 23-Oct 20, or 90 days).

Translator: Dedi, Fardah
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
Copyright © ANTARA 2019