Illegal Slash and Burn Practices
Last year police arrested seven executives in connection with these same fires.
Of those arrested were a senior executive from Bumi Mekar Hijau (BMH), which supplied Jakarta-based paper giant Asia Pulp and Paper (APP).
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Last year we reported 4,000 people per day are dying from killer smog in China. This is one of the largest causal factors related to those deaths.
Killer Haze Still Spreading Through Asia
JAKARTA – Indonesian police have nabbed more than 450 suspects in connection with land and forest fires this year, as part of a wider move to get tough on errant farmers and companies that still insist on using the outlawed slash-and-burn land-clearing method.
National police chief Tito Karnavian told reporters on Thursday (Aug 25) that the arrests, together with other preventive measures put in place by the government and more favourable weather conditions, have helped to keep the number of hot spots lower this year.
“The number of people arrested this year has risen compared to last year,” he said.
“This is one factor why the number of forest fires have fallen significantly,” the four-star police general added.
Indonesia’s chief detective Ari Dono Sukmanto on Thursday said that besides the 454 suspects, a number of people linked to nine companies that allegedly “started the fires” were also arrested.
“The nine companies are still being investigated,” he said.
Last year, police arrested 196 individuals and people linked to 25 errant companies.
Millions in South-east Asia were affected by thick smoke from the fires that covered many parts of the region in the second half of last year.
To prevent a repeat of the 2015 haze crisis, President Joko Widodo has ordered the authorities to clamp down on errant farmers and companies, while beefing up fire-fighting resources in high-risk areas.
Last year, several Singapore companies boycotted products from Indonesian companies that contributed to haze, an indication of intense public frustration in the typically squeaky clean city-state. Singapore’s largest supermarket chains, including NTUC FairPrice and Sheng Siong Group Ltd. pulled from their shelves products such as Nice and Paseo toilet paper and tissue sourced from Indonesian company Asia Pulp & Paper Group, one of the world’s largest paper and pulp producers. The company said in response that it has zero-burn policy on its land and was working with authorities to put of the fires.
Yet the fresh crackdown in both Singapore and Indonesia hasn’t been able to prevent the haze from recurring. Last year, fires in Indonesia consumed a roughly 6.2 million acre swath of land, releasing around 1.75 billion tons of greenhouse gases and setting Indonesia up as one of the world’s worst polluters that year. It exposed tens of millions of people to toxic haze and prompted flight cancellations in Thailand and health warnings in the Philippines and Singapore.
NEA said in a statement on Friday afternoon that hazy conditions have persisted as haze from central Sumatra continued to be blown in by the prevailing westerly winds.
Hazy conditions in Singapore continued to worsen throughout Friday.
As of 6pm, the Pollutants Standards Index in Singapore was in the Moderate to Unhealthy range at 82-112, the 3-hour PSI was 127, while the 1-hour PM2.5 was in the Elevated range islandwide, at 69 to 85.
NEA said overall, the PSI for the next 24 hours is forecast to be in the “Unhealthy” range and the 1-hour PM2.5 is expected to fluctuate between “Elevated” and “High”.