Indonesia — Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered today to act with power and quickness against perpetrators of forest fires, cause of the pollution of the environment and the devastation of native flora and fauna. It is necessary to intensify the measures for the protection of the forest and intensify the battle against those private companies interested in replacing forests by cash-crop plantations, told the President in statements to Antara news agency.
Forest fires are both a natural and human disaster, he pointed out.
The fires, mainly in the West of Indonesia, have intensified and extended to Riau, West Sumatra and North Sumatra, while dense fog has invaded neighboring countries such as Singapore and Malaysia.
The hot spots occupy more than 13.000 hectares of forests in Riau, an area where pollution affects more than 33.000 people suffering from acute respiratory ailments because of the fog, while an increasing number of people have been diagnosed with asthma and cough.
The spokesman of the National Police, Franky Ronny Sompie, instructed a special Brigade to find the causes of such events and investigate and prosecute the perpetrators.
Keep alive the forests is everyone’s responsibility, therefore the authorities are obliged to prevent illegal acts to the detriment of the natural reserves, he said.