Air-polluting forest fire hotspots in Riau reach 154

Air-polluting forest fire hotspots in Riau reach 154

The air quality in Pekanbaru was categorized as very unhealthy on Sept 7, 2019. (photo: Antra/ Muharrman/ FA)

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - The Pekanbaru meteorology station reported that 448 hotspots were observed throughout Sumatra Island, comprising 154 hotspots in Riau Province’s eight districts on Saturday morning, depleting the air quality in parts of the province.

Of the total figure, 60 were spotted in Pelalawan District, 42 in Indragiri Hulu, 34 in Indragiri Hilir, six in Meranti, five in Kuansing, three in Bengkalis, and two respectively in Kampar and Rokan Hilir, Ahmad Agus Widodo, analyst at the Pekanbaru meteorology station, remarked here on Saturday.

At least 97 of the 154 hotspots had developed into firespots, strongly suggestive of forest fires.

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A total of 45 firespots were found in Pelalawan, 25 in Indragiri Hulu, 19 in Indragiri Hilir, one in Kuansing, three in Meranti, and two each in Rokan Hilir and Bengkalis.

The air quality in parts of Riau was considered unhealthy, including in Rokan Hilir and Pekanbaru, where the air quality was also very unhealthy.

Last August, the Pekanbaru City Health Office had reported 7,745 acute respiratory tract infection sufferers in the Riau provincial capital between July and August 2019.

"The figure is based on reports from all public health service posts (Puskesmas) in Pekanbaru City, comprising 3,540 cases recorded in July and 4,205 cases in August," Muhammad Amin, acting chief of the Pekanbaru City Health Office, remarked in Pekanbaru recently.

The increase in the number of acute respiratory tract infection sufferers in the past couple of months is the outcome of the haze arising from land and forest fires in several districts and cities in Riau Province as well as in neighboring provinces.

However, the increase is relatively low, at 900 per month in comparison with over three thousand in August 2018 when no haze was detected, he pointed out.

"In August 2019, the number has already crossed four thousand, thereby translating to the fact that not all those suffering from acute respiratory tract infection were affected only by the haze," he added. 

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