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No SOP Among Reasons Haze Recurs Every Year

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PEKANBARU (RIAU) – The weakness of the Indonesian government which does not have a standard operating procedure (SOP) to overcome forest fires is among the factors haze occurs annually, say Malaysian and Indonesian academics.

In a roundtable discussion by 24 academicians, they also summarised that the Indonesian government seemed to lack preparations to face the El Nino phenomena resulting in forest fires which caused the haze.

“In fact, the nation causing the haze do not have an awareness and compliance of international conventions related to the issue of the environment, which has been formulated by international bodies other than not being adequately prepared to face the El Nino phenomena,” said the roundtable spokesman Prof Dr Kamaruddin M. Said here, yesterday.

He said studies also found many forest burning cases were committed by plantation companies as a method to expand their planting area every year.

In this regard, the roundtable discussion jointly organised by the Malaysia Council of Professors (MPN) and Universiti Islam Riau (UIR) unanimously passed a resolution that the Indonesian government held a compliance audit on farmers and plantation companies in works to open agricultural land, fire and management of peat soil.

Meanwhile, UIR Rector, Prof Dr H. Detri Karya, when tabling the discussion resolution, said the compliance audit was very important because most farmers conducted the burning of forest to open farms despite a ban against doing so.

He said, in the endeavour to tackle haze, the Indonesian government should prioritise forest and peat soil fire prevention activities, such as early warning and early detection systems.

The resolution also mentioned that the government must provide funds for management, prevention, tackling, controlling and rehabilitation of environment activities.

The roundtable discussion by the 24 academicians, in various fields from renowned universities in Malaysia and Indonesia, discussed about the cause, result and solution to the problem of haze.

The causes of haze were discussed from numerous perspectives including economy, politics, administration and bureaucracy, law and education.

The resolution on the discusssion was then handed over by MPN chairman, Tan Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid to Riau Governor, A.Arsyadjuliandi Rachman for further action by the Indonesian government.

The haze due to forest fire in Indonesia in the last four months since July was the worst so far to the extent that a haze emergency was declared in certain regions in Indonesia when the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings exceeded 2,000.

The haze which spread to Malaysia forced the government to close schools in several states when the API reading reached the danger levels. – BERNAMA

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