Saturday, 14 December 2019

WWF Indonesia Compares 2015 and 2019 Forest Fires

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Laila Afifa

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  • A woman walks along the road covered in smog due to the forest fire in Banjarbaru, South Kalimantan province, Indonesia, September 6, 2019. Picture taken September 6, 2019. Fires have burnt through parts of Sumatra and Borneo island for more than a month and the government has sent 9,000 military, police and disaster agency personnel to fight the flames. Antara Foto/Bayu Pratama S via REUTERS

    A woman walks along the road covered in smog due to the forest fire in Banjarbaru, South Kalimantan province, Indonesia, September 6, 2019. Picture taken September 6, 2019. Fires have burnt through parts of Sumatra and Borneo island for more than a month and the government has sent 9,000 military, police and disaster agency personnel to fight the flames. Antara Foto/Bayu Pratama S via REUTERS

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - WWF Indonesia Policy & Advocacy Director Aditya Bayunanda compared the land and forest fires that happened in 2015 to this year’s environmental crisis in Kalimantan and Sumatra, which he asserts are two incomparable cases.

    “The government needs to determine the problem of forest fires and not consider it as a normal occurrence. The 2015 event happened because of the El Nino affecting several regions. The year-long lack of rain was so massive and had extraordinary consequences,” said Aditya at the WWF Indonesia HQ in South Jakarta on Tuesday, September 17.

    The 2015 land and forest fires cost the nation upwards of Rp221 trillion that affected 2.6 million hectares of land which places the past environmental tragedy far worse than the one currently happening.

    He asserts that the government should have learned from the 2015 forest fires to overcome today’s forest fires.

    “We were lucky in 2016-2018, and the 2019 drought is not at an extraordinary level, it’s a normal drought season,” said Aditya.

    Based on the Forestry and Environment Ministry’s monitoring system, the vastness of the forest fires in 2019 affects a massive 328,722 hectares of land and forests. Without the needed mitigation, it may surpass last year’s 510,564.21 hectares.

    MOH KHORY ALFARIZI