Thursday, 10 December 2009

Logging Trucks Interrupt Kalimantan Governor's Reforestation Speech

The highlights are mine.

And to think the EU, UK, USA governments still keep throwing (our) good money after bad at Indonesia to save forests.


December 10, 2009 The Jakarta Globe

Logging Trucks Interrupt Kalimantan Governor's Reforestation Speech

What was supposed to be a key environmental speech from West Kalimantan Governor Cornelis in the increasingly deforested district of Kubu Raya, turned to embarrassment on Thursday when the occasion was repeatedly interrupted by trucks carrying freshly felled timber .

Cornelis was delivering a speech on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s “One Man, One Tree” campaign, when the first truck carrying logs passed in front of the Sungai Ambawang subdistrict office on the Trans-Kalimantan Highway .

“I’m making a speech about the tree-planting movement and a truck carrying piles of timber passes by,” he said to laughter from the audience.

The governor also attempted to make light of the second and third interruptions by logging trucks heading to the provincial capital Pontianak, joking that the timber was probably illegally logged.

“If we ask the drivers, I don’t think they will have permits,” Cornelis said.

It wasn’t till a fourth truck slowly rumbled past the subdistrict office that the audience began to murmur and the governor responded by ordering the police to prevent any other trucks from passing in front of the building during his speech.

West Kalimantan suffers from alarming levels of deforestation, caused mainly by land conversion to make way for palm oil plantations.

Forest and peatland fires in the province are also a major contributor to haze in the region and carbon emissions that are a major contributor to global warming.

After the ceremony, a number of saplings were planted beside the Trans-Kalimantan Highway.

Cornelis said he hoped that everyone in the province could take part in President Yudhoyono’s “One Man, One Tree” movement.

He calculated that if a quarter of West Kalimantan’s four million people planted one sapling a day, then the movement’s target of 7.7 million new trees, could quickly be achieved.

The Forestry Ministry, through the Kapuas River Management Agency, has donated 1.07 million saplings to West Kalimantan.

In Kubu Raya district, 165,000 saplings were planted.