Saturday, 19 October 2019

BMKG Counters Malaysia's Complaint of Smog from Indonesia

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Petir Garda Bhwana

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Malaysia plans to urge Indonesia to immediately take steps to fight the haze. However, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has denied there is smoke distribution that crosses the Sumatra region into the Malaysian peninsula.

    BMKG deputy for meteorology, Mulyono R. Prabowo, confirmed that rebuttal based on satellite data monitoring and analysis.

    "There is no trans-boundary haze as some foreign media reported," he said in a BMKG press release on Sunday, September 8.

    As quoted by the New Strait Times on September 6, the Malaysian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation said it would "send diplomatic records to Indonesia, so that immediate action will be taken to extinguish the fire and prevent repeated burning."

    Meanwhile, The Guardian wrote that Kuala Lumpur residents said the sky had become hazier in the last few days because smoke had spread across the Malacca Strait.

    Thomas Smith, a peat fire expert from the London School of Economics who is in Kuala Lumpur for research said that the haze "smelled differently, like peat."

    Smith claimed that most of the fires were deliberately done to cut down forests or agriculture. In recent years, the declining palm oil prices have pushed some farmers to burn their plantations and replant them with vegetables or dragon fruits.

    Meanwhile, the BMKG recorded at least 2,510 hotspots spread throughout Southeast Asia from September 4 to 7.

    "All of these hotspots are spread across Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, Timor Leste and Thailand," Mulyono said.

    Based on the readings by Himawari-8 Satellite, the smoke distribution in Indonesia covers Riau, Jambi, parts of South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan and South Kalimantan. Meanwhile, no trans-boundary haze is detected from Sumatra to Peninsular Malaysia.

    NEW STRAIT TIMES | THE GUARDIAN | ANWAR SISWADI