WALHI warns authorities on forest fires in Riau

The Jakarta Post, 25 Jun 2013

The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI) has sent warning letters on land and forest fires in Riau to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the Environment Ministry, the Forestry Ministry, and the Agriculture Ministry.

“We sent the warning letters in the interests of law and for the sake of our rights to a healthy environment,” said WALHI’s manager for policy and legal defence, Muhnur Satyahaprabu, on Tuesday as quoted by Antara news agency.

WALHI also sent letters to Jambi, Riau and South Sumatra governors and the National Police chief.

In the letters, WALHI demanded that, within seven days, the government issued a policy to protect citizens under threat of air pollution, and to immediately prevent and tackle the fires.

“The government should evaluate thoroughly all plantation and industrial forest (HTI) concession permits and enforce the laws, including arresting the perpetrators both individuals and corporations who are responsible for the damage in the concession areas,” he said.

Citing the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), WALHI said that the number of fire spots remained high, at almost 6,000.

The distribution locations of fire spots are almost the same every year. They are Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, Jambi, Riau, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, and several other provinces in Sulawesi and Sumatra. (hrl/ebf)