WWF and PFFSEA Press Release – JAKARTA The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Project Fire Fight Southeast Asia (PFFSEA) have launched the Fire Bulletin, a weekly analyses and information on fire, haze, and related issues in Indonesia. Furthermore, the Bulletin will serve as an early warning system so that fires and haze such as those experienced in 1997 and 1998 can no longer happen.
WWF and PFFSEA call upon the Indonesian government and the private sectors operating in Indonesia to take action to prevent future fire and haze catastrophes. Let this year’s dry season be the last smoke season!
WWF will actively monitor the fire and haze throughout the upcoming dry season in Indonesia, as well as other activities related by the government and industrial sectors.
For the last 20 years, fire and haze have become a yearly event in Indonesia. Many Indonesians have suffered due to this catastrophe both directly and indirectly. Some people had lost some of their possessions, food, and income because of the flames, while others may never see the fire, but are choked by thick smoke. Forest fire has caused an enormous financial lost for all Indonesians. In 1997 1998 the fire catastrophe had cost US $3 billion to the Indonesian taxpayers.
“Fire and haze are not natural disasters we have to accept like bad weather. They are man-made and we know what to do to prevent them in the future. We now call upon the government and the private sector to act and let this upcoming fire season be the last,” said Dr. Peter Moore, Coordinator of Project Fire Fight Southeast Asia.
“This month it has been five years since the Reforms, five years since the big wildfires and one year since massive peatland fires, but not much has changed. The people become increasingly disillusioned and this might be reflected in the upcoming elections early next year just after the dry season,” said Mubariq Ahmad, Executive Director of WWF Indonesia.
What can be done to prevent future fires?
·In 1997-1998, approximately 80% of the haze, causing damage worth of US$ 800 million caused by fires on peatlands. Therefore, all development of peatlands should be stopped and all peatlands carefully managed and protected.
·The private sector should exert self-restraint and adopt best practices including none fire land clearing and protection of the most biodiversity areas within their concession.
·A single agency should oversee and co-ordinate fire management, laws, and regulations must be harmonized and clarified to and most importantly enforced.
·Local communities should be empowered by the government and the private sector to sustainably manage fire and land.