The Indonesian government will spend 100 billion rupiah — $10 million — on a cloud-seeding scheme to reduce the haze plaguing Sumatra, Singapore, and Malaysia.
According to a statement released after a meeting between top officials, Indonesia will use airplanes to seed clouds with salt in an effort to increase condensation and rainfall over parched parts of Sumatra where peat fires are spewing particulate matter into the atmosphere. The operation is expected to last until the end of the dry season, which typically runs through late September or early October.
The Indonesian government also said that six “water-bombing” helicopters are currently engaged in fire-fighting efforts in Riau. More aircraft will join the effort soon.
Overall the Indonesian government has committed $25 million in emergency funds to combatting the haze, which some analysts project could shave half a point of GDP for Singapore in 2013.
Firefighter in Riau Province, Indonesia on 06/23/2013. © Ulet Ifansasti / Greenpeace
After the meeting, officials urged the need for cooperation in haze control efforts.
“We need the support of all parties and all companies should keep their forests and focus we put out the fire”, said Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan in a statement.
Zulkifli added that 14 are people being investigated for fire-setting. 11 are from plantation companies, while 3 are small farmers. If found guilty, they could face up to five years in prison and their operating licenses revoked.
(06/26/2013) New analysis of land cover in Riau Province reveals the outsized role industrial plantations play in driving deforestation and associated haze. The analysis, conducted by Eyes on the Forest, finds that up to 56% of deforestation in Riau between 2007 and 2012 can be linked to timber plantations for pulp and paper production. The figure for oil palm plantations may be as high as 31%.
(06/26/2013) Wind patterns, rather than a sharp increase in fires, is to blame for the record setting air pollution affecting Singapore and Malaysia, finds new analysis by the World Resources Institute (WRI).
(06/24/2013) Three firms linked to fires in Sumatra saw their share prices decline since the haze crisis worsened a week ago.
(06/24/2013) Greenpeace has released a series of photos from the front lines of the peat fires that are casting a pall of haze and triggering health warnings across Singapore and Malaysia. The images were taken by Getty photographer Ulet Infansasti in Sumatra, where the fires are burning. Analysis of NASA hotspot data has revealed that the majority of fires are occurring within plantation concessions operated by palm oil and timber companies.