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BANJARBARU – The Indonesian Palm Oil Association (GAPKI) will collaborate with the South Kalimantan (Kalsel) task force of forest and land fires (Satgas Karhutla), which consists of the provincial government of Kalsel, the environment and forestry ministry (KLHK), agriculture ministry (Kementan), national military and police (TNI-Polri), and the regional disasters mitigation board (BPBD), to go all out in extinguishing the fires in Kalsel province.
The agriculture ministry’s Plantations Director General Andi Nur Alamsyah said that all stakeholders have taken preparatory steps in dealing with the potential fires, despite the fact that so far all fires occurred far away from plantation areas. “The government and the private sector are committed to jointly supporting the firefighting efforts to prevent the fires from spreading uncontrollably,” he said.
“Many incidents of fires occurred in unproductive lands, like peat lands near to airport. If left unextinguished, the fires will then affect the productive lands, such as the oil palm plantations. That’s why since early on Satgas Karhutla has been committed to helping the firefighting efforts to prevent the fires from spreading to plantation areas,” Andi said in a press release on Thursday.
According to Andi, Karhutla in the peat lands has disturbed the economic and social activities of the general public. “Cases of respiratory problems increased in South Kalimantan, and flight schedules in Syamsudin Noor Banjarbaru airport were often delayed,” said Andi.
Andi said the agriculture ministry had also prepared 50 units of portable water pump to help the Satgas Karhutla and the local people to extinguish the fires.
“I’ve also phoned GAPKI chairman to also contribute the water pump units. Hopefully, they can provide more. Perhaps, 100 units more of the portable water pump,” Andi said. (*)