... I will take it over."
Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - Ten air pollutant standard index devices installed in several districts and cities in the Riau Province showed that the air quality was categorized as hazardous to the peoples health.

The data of the Riau Haze Disaster Mitigation Agency indicated that the pollutant standard index (PSI) in Rumbai, Pekanbaru, was 310 PSI, and in Minas, Siak district, it was 388 PSI, according to the devices that belonged to PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia (CPI).

The PSI in Dumai reached 500. It was also at 500 in Duri Camp and Duri Field. The PSI in Kandis, Perawang, Bangko and Panam inPekanbaru was also reported to be 500.

An air quality index above 300 PSI is categorized as hazardous to peoples health.

Haze coming from the plantation and forest fires, which were mostly lit deliberately to illegally clear land for farming and plantation, had led to the deterioration of the air quality in the Riau Province.

Environmental Affairs Minister Balthasar Kambuaya recently recommended the revocation of concession rights of companies that set the fires.

"We do not have the authority to revoke their licenses, only the Environmental Affairs Ministry can make that recommendation," the minister said in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, on Wednesday.

Last year, the ministry filed lawsuits against eight companies alleged to have burned forest land.

Recently, the ministry had sent a team to investigate forest and plantation fires in Riau, Aceh, North Sumatra and Jambi.

Meanwhile, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had asked all relevant ministers and the officials in the Riau province to put off the forest fires in every possible way.

"Again, I instructed the relevant ministers and the officials in Riau province on Thursday night to immediately perform emergency response operation," the president wrote on his Twitter account @SBYudhoyono on Friday.

He added that the officials in Riau should take the lead in preventing and managing the smoke caused by the forest and plantation fires in the province.

"If in two days the relevant ministers and the Riau provincial government officials fail to mitigate the problem, I will take it over," the head of state noted.

He said the police had named 37 suspects and will bring them to court, but if the fires continued to burn, the suffocating haze would be inevitable.

"The central government, the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), the National Defense Forces (TNI) and the National Police (Polri) had tried to overcome the smoke but the result was not satisfactory," he said.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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