INDONESIA – The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) through institutions such as the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the National Police is expected to deploy thousands of officers to reduce forest fires this year.
BNPB secretary-general Dody Ruswandi said the agency would send 1,000 military personnel and 205 police officers to villages in Riau, West Kalimantan and Jambi, provinces that were vulnerable to forest fires.
“They will try to educate locals on how to utilize the land so that the locals would not burn the forest anymore,” Dody told reporters during a press briefing at the BNPB headquarters in Central Jakarta on Thursday.
Dodi said three other provinces, Central Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, and South Sumatra, were also vulnerable to forest fires because they had a significant amount of peatland.
On the same occasion, the Environment and Forestry Ministry’s acting director for forest and land fire control, Raffles Brotestes Panjaitan, said many locals were involved in burning forest for economic purposes.
“We are trying to change their paradigm and culture of burning forest but it will take much time and effort,” he said.
To prevent forest fires, Raffles said government agencies established a program that would educate locals on creating charcoal, wood vinegar and compost from wood waste generated by fires in order to boost economic productivity. (awa/jun)