Government Told to Punish Instigators Of Forest

Dibaca: 29049 kali  Minggu,13 September 2015
Government Told to Punish Instigators Of Forest
Ket Foto : A police officer inspects conditions during a forest fire in Bukit Timah, Dumai in Riau in June. (JP)

Jakarta, ( Forum for Environment (Walhi) executive director Abetnego Tarigan has said that the government needs to seriously stop the environmentally unfriendly method of clearing land through burning that has sparked regular pollution disasters in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

He said the annual smoky haze disaster was being caused by a few businessmen who use burning, the cheapest method, to clear forested land.

“The land clearing through burning is a backward method used by companies that want to get maximal benefit,” Abetnego said as reported by Antara.

He explained that by paying some people between Rp 500,000 (US$ 35) and Rp 1 million to start fires, thousands of hectares of forest land could be cleared, while the land clearing that used clearing equipment costs between Rp 5 million to Rp 7 million to clear one hectare.

He said his organization did not blame local people as the main culprits of the burning because the tradition of local people is to respect the ecological balance.

According to Abetnego, if local people were involved in the burning, they were only sent by the investors, as has been revealed by many people who had been arrested by the police.

He said that his organization had not seen any businessmen arrested for asking people to burn the forest. It is a challenge for the President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo government to prosecute the masterminds of the forest burning, he added.

The National Police have said that the police have named 73 people as suspects of the forest burning in Sumatra and Kalimantan. The National Police Public Relations’ division stated that those who were named suspects were allegedly involved in 59 forest burnings.

According to the police information service, one case was investigated by the National Police, 27 cases were investigated by the Riau Police, eight cases were investigated by the Jambi Police, 11 cases by the Central Kalimantan Police and 11 cases were being handled by the West Kalimantan Police.

Some 32,000 hectares of land were allegedly burned in those 59 cases, said National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Anton Charliyan. (radarpku/tjp)


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