Pontianak steps up fight against forest fires

Pontianak steps up fight against forest fires

22 August 2018

Published by http://www.thejakartapost.com/

INDONESIA – Pontianak Mayor Sutarmidji has issued a new regulation aimed at reducing forest fires in the city, which has been covered with haze in recent days.

The regulation, which took effect on Monday, includes sanctions for both the fire perpetrators and the landowners.

It stipulates that the utilization of land intentionally or unintentionally burned should be halted for between three and five years.

“The decision of whether the land was intentionally or unintentionally burned is based on [the statements] of the subdistrict heads,” Sutarmidji said on Tuesday, as quoted by kompas.com.

The local government, he said, would impose sanctions on landowners who intentionally set fire to their land by charging all costs expended on putting out the fire, in addition to criminal charges that they would face.

“The permit that has been issued for the land will be revoked, whether the landowners intentionally or accidentally set fire to their land,” he said.

Sutarmidji said the set of sanctions given was a form of consequence for landowners who were neglectful and could not manage their own land.

“Otherwise, there is no deterrent effect,” he added.

Previously, Sutarmidji had ordered temporary school closures this week, ranging from early childhood education centers (PAUD), kindergarten, elementary schools, up to junior high schools, as thick smog from wildfires and forest fires has worsened in the city.

The West Kalimantan Education and Culture Agency also issued a circular that calls on senior high schools in Pontianak and Kubu Raya regency to close temporarily. (sau/ahw)

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