ACTNews, JAKARTA – Land and forest fires (karhutla) are threatening a number of areas. In addition to causing material impact, the haze arising from land and forest fires has increasingly harmed the community.
Based on information compiled by the Disaster Management Institute of Indonesia (DMII), six provinces are recorded to have very high number of hotspots. Riau has 289 hotspots, Jambi 504 hotspots, South Sumatra 332 hotspots, West Kalimantan 572 hotspots, Central Kalimantan 452 hotspots, South Kalimantan 133 hotspots.
The Director of DMII Wahyu Novyan said, it needs a synergistic role of all parties to tackle the forest and land fires that occur almost every year. "Forest fires can be prevented by not burning land. There must be awareness from the community. There must be actions, and mitigation efforts must also be carried out," he told ACTNews, Wednesday (9/11).
The Ministry of Environment and Forestry, as of Wednesday (9/11), recorded 4,057 hotspots that are still burning in 34 provinces in Indonesia. Central Kalimantan is still the province with the highest number of forest fires. There were 1,066 hotspots in Central Kalimantan as of Wednesday.
Land and forest fires have worsened the air quality in the affected areas. The thick haze caused by the fires has led to the increase of acute respiratory infections (ARI) cases in the affected area.
"People affected by the haze must pay attention to their health. The local residents are advised to wear proper masks and drink enough mineral water," Wahyu continued. He also urged motorcyclists to also be careful given the limited visibility in a number of areas.
The South Sumatra Provincial Health Office (Dinkes) even issued a circular letter for the establishment of health posts in 17 regencies / cities that are affected by the haze. While in Pekanbaru, more than five thousand affected residents were recorded by the local health department. Some schools have to be closed for health reasons. "Because of the thick haze, in order to maintain the students and teachers’ health, the school activities must be temporarily halted," reported Wahyu Suryanda from the ACT Riau Team.