Indonesia — The haze blanketing Indonesia’s Riau province was thickening, making air quality in several regions increased to alarming condition and increasing numbers of people were suffering from respiration problems, a senior Indonesian official said here on Tuesday.
Citing results of detection conducted by satellite, Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) Spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that forest fires were still continuing in Riau province.
A total of 145 hotspots were detected as of Tuesday by the satellite, covering several regions in the province, including Meranti, Siak, Pelalawan, Dumai, Inhil, Rohil and Kuansiang.
Sutopo also said that the thick haze also affected the bio- conservancy area of Giam Siang in the province, endangering the lives of endangered animals inhabited in the area such as tigers, elephants and bears.
The forest fires in the province that hosts many palm oil plantation and paper firms were triggered by rampant land exploitation for plantation expansion, allegedly conducted by local people and plantation owners.
Due to the haze, Sutopo added that air quality has also been worsening in several regions.
“Due to that, 41,589 people are suffering from respiratory problem, 1,544 suffer from asthma, 1,385 have eye irritations and 862 suffer from pneumonia,” Sutopo added.
The areas declared to have bad air quality due to the haze include Duri Camp, Duri Field, Siak, Kandis, Perawang, Bangko and Libo.
He added that the fire fighting campaign is still underway at the moment, involving 2,500 people from police, troops and volunteers.