President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has admitted that the fires and hotspots in Indonesia causing transboundary haze was due to negligence by his government.
The fires this year, most of which had been deliberately set by farmers to clear land for crops, have burned almost 340,000 hectares of land, an area one third the size of Jamaica, as of Aug 31.
Jokowi acceded blame during a meeting with officials on Sept 17 in Sumatra’s Riau province, Indonesia, one of the country’s worst-affected regions.
“Ahead of the dry season, everyone should have been prepared,
“But we’ve been negligent again [this year], so the haze has become big.”President of Indonesia, Jokowi, via Mongabay
Widodo also expressed disappointment at relevant state institutions, including the Indonesian police and the military, who did not respond quickly enough to tackle the fires.
“We have it all, but these instruments aren’t activated well,
“If they’re activated well, then I’m sure a single fire hotspot will be detected first before it grows into hundreds of fire hotspots. And I’ve reminded that numerous times. What we’re dealing with here isn’t forest [fires], but peatland, which if it’s already burned, then no matter how many million litres [of water] we expend, it’s still difficult to extinguish.”President of Indonesia, Jokowi, via Mongabay
Meanwhile, environmental activists in Indonesia appreciate their president’s acknowledgement of his governments lack in preparation to tackle the fires and hotspots.