Government Proposes Rp500 Billion Budget for Forest Fires

Government Proposes Rp500 Billion Budget for Forest Fires

6 November 2006

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Jakarta, Indonesia — The Environment State Ministry and the Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare are to propose a Rp500 billion budget for the handling of land and forest fires thoroughly for 2007-2010.

“More than Rp500 billion would require the approval of the Finance Minister,” said Masnellyarti Hilman, Deputy Head of Natural Resources Conservation Improvement and Environment Damage Control, via phone yesterday (5/11).

The funds and agreement of the thorough handling is the result of a national meeting on land and forest fires, on Thursday (2/11).

This measure is also a follow-up to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) discussion on haze in October.

In addition to the proposed funds, the government expects aid funds from ASEAN members, donor organizations and the United Nations Environment Programme.

Masnellyarti explained that the plan to handle haze thoroughly consisted of prevention, monitoring, fire extinguishing and law enforcement acts.

Maximum efforts for solving fires, she said, must be well prepared because it is estimated that next year land and forest fires will happen more frequently due to drier climate with low humidity.

Acts of prevention include increasing the capabilities of members of the general public in terms of land clearing methods.

Whereas they previously cleared land by burning, it is expected that with special incentives they will no longer clear land using that method.

Masnellyarti said that the people who don’t set fire to land will receive seedlings, equipment to make compost, briquettes and fire extinguishers.

The government will make an inventory of peat soil that must to be conserved and that which can be converted.

In addition, water management measures will be carried out the form of making canals around peat soil to keep it humid and not easy to catch fire.

The government will also monitor horticulture companies or land concession right (HPH) owners in terms of their environment management.

Monitoring will be in cooperation with related institutions and regional governments.

Through cooperation with the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG), air quality and climatis conditions will also be monitored.

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