Take firm action against forest fire perpetrators

Take firm action against forest fire perpetrators

(ANTARA/Widodo S. Jusuf)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Forum for Environment (Walhi) has asked the government to take the firmest possible action against forest and land fires perpetrators.

"Police and related ministries should be firm against the environmental crime perpetrators," said the forum`s National Manager of Policy and Legal Defense Executive Muhnur Satyahaprabu in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Munhur made the statement in responding the forest fire in Riau province since the beginning of June which has caused smog that travels to Singapore and part of Malaysia.

According to Munhur the forest arsonists must be brought to justice not only the individual but also the landowner corporations.

Based on Walhi`s data obtained from the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) satellite show that in 2006 there were as many as 146 264 hotspots, 37,909 hotspots in 2007, 30,616 hotspots in 2008, 29.463 hotspots in 2009, 9.898 hotspots in 2010, and 11,379 hotspots in 2011.

Whereas up to August 2012 Walhi recorded that there are as many as 5,627 spots scattered in several provinces in Indonesia.

Hotspots distribution area are almost the similar every year which located in the province of Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, Central Borneo and several other provinces in Sumatra and Sulawesi.

Walhi also noted that forest fires in Indonesia cannot be separated from the pattern of land use and forest policy in Indonesia, since the Production Forest Concessions (HPH) regime started and shifted to plantation, industrial forest permits (HTI) and mining sector, Indonesia`s tropical rain forests are degraded into degraded land and secondary forest.

The regularly occurred forest fires in the last one decade was not only because of the changes in ecological chain, but is also influenced by the intentional large-scale plantation businesses in land clearing.

The rising hotspot number also occurred due to the negligence of Pulp and Paper industry in running their production and environmental management.