Palembang, August 23, 2021 -- Over 30 civil society organizations on Monday sent a letter to investors of Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), part of the Sinar Mas Group, explaining why the expansion of APP’s OKI Pulp and Paper Mill in Sumatra, Indonesia would risk the respiratory health for millions of people in Southeast Asia and cause more greenhouse gas emissions than many countries on an annual basis.
Eyes on the Forest updated that more pulpwood plantation and palm oil companies were caught having fire hotspots on 28-30 July in Riau Province. Meanwhile, fewer fire hotspots detected by NASA satellite in Tesso Nilo National Park compared to 26 and 27 July analysis.
At least six industrial timber plantation concessions in Riau province were detected to have fire hotspots on 26 and 27 July as Eyes on the Forest team analysed based on satellite data by NASA FIRM VIIRS with confidence of nominal (medium).
Riau Province Government set emergency status of forest and land fires that effective from 19 February to 31 October 2019 following the intense burnings and haze in Bengkalis district, Dumai city, and Meranti islands district.
Eyes on the Forest coalition conducted last week series of ground checking on burned areas and found a concession of industrial timber supplier in Rokan Hilir district and peat restoration priority areas in Bengkalis razed by fires. The restoration areas were also situated on land of indicative map on new permit issuance suspension (dubbed as PIPPIB).
Fire hotspot number in Indonesia drastically increase this month as long drought and hot temperature could drive the trend. Approximately 529 hotspots were detected in West Kalimantan province during the 7-23 July 2018 period, as analyzed by Eyes on the Forest - West Kalimantan network based on monitoring from the Terra-Aqua Modis satellite with confidence 30% up.
Eyes on the Forest coalition analyzed distribution of fire hotspots during week 1-7 August 2017 as its number on peatland in Sumatra reached 351 (NASA FIRM The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite /VIIRS) sensor.
The second week of month showed the most fire hotspots found in Riau province since fires and haze returned from January. There are total 1605 hotspots detected accumulatively in the province based on NASA Modis Fire monitoring in period of 13-19 February.
After being free from haze and fires since September 2013, Riau’s annual problem, haze and wildfires, returns to Riau since the end of January 2014. The increasing hotspots which are found in plantations’ concessions as well as outside concessions which have caused the worsening air quality in the province, as schools closed and thousands people infected by respiratory infections.
Sumatra’s Riau province is suffering Indonesia’s worst fire season in recent years with serious smoke choking the region and neighboring Singapore and southern Malaysia. Eyes on the Forest has been tracking forest and land cover change and those who drive it in Riau since the early 1990s.