Monday, August 28, 2006

Forest Fires: Who owns the hotspots?

Suara Pembaruan evening paper published its Monday headline on four companies operating in Riau province that have been named suspects in the forest fires over the last few weeks. Unfortunately the paper didn't publish the names yet.

Forest fires in Riau are worsening, marked by the increasing number of hotspots. In July, according to the paper, there were 1,419 hot spots.
WWF Fire Bulletin No. 03/2006 published August 18 reported 1,336 hotspots in Riau province. These occured inside HTI (timber) concessions (30.84%), palm oil concessions (14.22%), and others.
Last year, WWF also reported nearly half of the 5,420 hotspots identified in Sumatra island's Riau Province between July 18 and Aug. 16, 2005 were in timber concessions and palm-oil plantations. It has singled out at least two dozen companies, including some linked to Asia Pulp and Paper Co (APP) -- the world's largest pulp producer -- and Asia Pacific Resources International (APRIL), both based in Singapore.
Suara Pembaruan quoted the same report from WWF this year, a report I didn't find in their website today. But the Fire Bulletin No.1/2006 issued on August 3 did mention company groups of HTI, whose concessions were indicated having hotspots in Riau, were those of APP and APRIL Groups. Meanwhile in Kalimantan, the companies were SFDP, Inhutani, and PT Lahan Permata.
No comments yet from these companies. But last year, both APP & APRIL denied the charges of starting the fires.
Just like similar government statements in the past of those named suspects, we have to see whether this time government would be more serious in prosecuting these fire instigators. Before that, government should come up with bullet-proofs findings of those who starts the fire. Otherwise, government officers would only bussy to be the fire fighters for these companies.



Blogger IndCoup said...

the complicty between those starting the fires and the govt officials is pretty clear IMO.

August 28, 2006 5:45 PM  

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