Parliament introduces haze agreement bill in Riau

EoF News / 18 July 2006

Visiting Head of DPR’s Commission VII Agusman Effendi said in Pekanbaru Friday (Jul.14) that worries appeared in neighboring countries over haze caused by forest fires have created ASEAN Transboundary Haze Agreement where each of its members should ratify it.

The ratification on haze settlement bill in Indonesia is underway where parliament now is introducing it to provinces prone to forest fires including Riau. “We from DPR have no intention to amend any article that ratified,” Agusman said on the 13-article bill on haze agreement.

Riau is one of six provinces that notoriously produced forest fires that also annoyed by ASEAN neighboring countries. Agusman said three of six regencies in the country that had most hotspots located in Riau, thereby Rokan Hilir, Dumai, and Bengkalis, Riau Pos daily reported last weekend.

Riau province proposed to House to host ASEAN center for forest fires and haze settlement as reaffirmed by Governor Rusli Zainal after receiving the visit of Commission VII. The province is ready to host a joint secretariat office, Riau Terkini website reported.

Meanwhile, Fitrian Ardiansyah, forestry coordinator of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF Indonesia) told the Jakarta Post that the government should take more steps to prevent the annual outbreak of fires, such as increasing monitoring.

"The government should also ratify the ASEAN Transboundary Haze agreement, to secure the cooperate on of neighboring countries in addressing forest fires," he told The Jakarta Postquoted as saying.

Reports said that early this month Pekanbaru is blanketed again by haze from forest fires where hotspots detected in the province is the most among the provinces. The worst condition occurred on July 7 where several flights are cancelled and delayed in Pekanbaru’s airport, Sultan Syarif Kasim II.

According to data published by Ministry of Forestry, through its official website, Riau’s hotspot detected by NOAA satellite from July 1 to July 12 is 713 hotspots. July 2 noted the most hotspot detected with 203 hotspots, and followed by July 1’s detection with 120.

Meanwhile, based on MODIS Web Fire Mapper, GIS unit of WWF Indonesia-Riau found that 46 hotspots detected on July 1-13. The hotspots found located inside Industrial Timber Plantation (HTI concession) is 8 and the remaining outside HTI.

In June, the unit detected that 90 hotspots appeared where 21 of 90 occurred inside concession of associated Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) pulp mill, and 16 in concession belong to partners of Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd (APRIL).

| Document Riau Hotspot |