Indonesian agency warns regional haze crisis may reoccur
JAKARTA — Indonesia’s neighbors could be affected with haze problems similar to those of previous years if tougher measures are not implemented by all related stakeholders to immediately extinguish land fires affecting several areas across the province, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) in Pekanbaru, Riau, has said.
“Currently, the wind tends to blow to the southeast. If smoke haze occurs, there is a significant chance it will be brought by the wind to our neighboring countries,” BMKG Pekanbaru head Sugarin said on Monday.
Based on data released by the agency, Terra and Aqua satellites detected 54 hotspots in Rokan Hilir on Monday morning, making it the area with the highest number of hotspots in Riau. Meanwhile, Dumai detected 15 hotspots, followed by Bengkalis (8), Rokan Hulu (5), and Meranti Islands, Indragiri Hulu and Siak, which recorded three hotspots each. Kampar reported only one hotspot.
“In total, 92 hotspots were detected in Riau this morning, 84 of which were in coastal areas with a significant amount of peatland,” said Sugirin.
“The number of hotspots in the province has increased significantly, as only 66 hotspots were detected on Sunday. This is because of the dry weather, which makes the land a lot more flammable.”
Residents in Duri, Mandau district, Bengkalis regency, claimed they could smell smoke since early Monday.
Several areas in Tanah Putih district, Rokan Hilir regency, have been blanketed with thick smoke since Monday morning. The smoke came from land fires in Putat village in Tanah Putih district and Siarang Arang village in Pujud district.
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