Monday, 3 August 2009

Greenpeace calls on President Yudhoyono to help stop forest fires

Adianto P. Simamora , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sun, 08/02/2009

Greenpeace called on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to take immediate action to tackle the latest spate of forest fires that has hit Sumatra’s Riau Province as well as West and Central Kalimantan and parts of Sulawesi.

It said that most fires were lit deliberately to clear land for palm oil and paper plantations.

Riau Province alone recorded 2,800 fire hotspots in July, and the province is
bracing for more as the dry season continues.

"President Yudhoyono needs to wake up to the climate crisis and take immediate action by declaring a moratorium on deforestation. During his second term, he will be amongst the eight key world leaders who have the historic opportunity to lead the concerted global efforts to reverse the worst impacts of climate change at the UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December." said Zulfahmi, a forest campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

"To show his intent, the President should ensure a 'fire-free' season this year and stop palm oil and paper companies from burning and destroying our forests. Only then forest protection funds can start to flow from developed countries to provide sustainable solutions to forests, the people and biodiversity that depend on them and help win the global battle against climate change."

A Greenpeace team has joined community firefighting efforts to extinguish fires in Kuala Cinaku, southern Riau, using equipment donated to the community in 2007, following firefighting drills conducted by Greenpeace.

It said that the small team of 15 has so far only managed to contain fires in a 10 hectare-area close to palm oil concessions where fire recently claimed over 1000 hectares of forest land.

"Firefighters were denied access to tackle fires on the company’s concession land," he said.