Jokowi, keep your promise to free Riau from haze

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The Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency (Badan Meteorologi Klimatologi dan Geofisika/BMKG) predicted the dry season to last in Riau until November 2019, with the peak estimated to occur in September. 

The coming of dry season, forest and land burning, and haze were already impacting a number of districts and cities in Riau Province. The Provincial Health Office (Dinas Kesehatan) recorded 281,626 citizens already suffering from acute respiratory infection (ISPA) in the 2019 January-September period. In Pekanbaru City, a number of students were infected by the disease and many schools were forced to temporarily suspend all the activities due to thick haze. 

According to the Indonesian National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB), 201 fire hotspots were observed by Terra and Aqua satellites in the districts of Indragiri Hilir (Inhil), Pelalawan and Indragiri Hulu (Inhu). The lack of health command posts and poor dissemination on the information on such posts left communities in confusion as to where to go for health checks. 

To date, the Governor of Riau Syamsuar has yet to declare a Province Haze Emergency (Riau Darurat Asap) despite the Pekanbaru Air Pollutant Standard Index of PM10 reaching a DANGEROUS level at 314.96  mgram/m3 on 12 September 2019.

Law enforcement against forest and land fire starters (both individual and corporate) has been poor. The Province Police have only named 42 individuals and 1 company - PT Sumber Sawit Sejahtera/SSS - as suspects for forest and land fires despite a number of companies having been reported by the Commander of the Riau Forest and Land Fire Sub-Task Force as a result of its finding. The companies are Primatama Rupat (the Surya Dumai Group), Jatim Jaya Perkasa (Teluk Bono II), PT WSSI (Koto Gasib), Seraya Sumber Lestarai (Koto Gasib) and Langgam Inti Hibrido (Langgam Subdistrict, Pelalawan District).  The findings have yet to be followed up by the Task Force and the Provincial Police. 

Therefore, we, Koalisi Masyarakat Asap (KOMA) (the Coalition of Haze Victims), demand that President Jokowi, the Minister of Environment and Forestry, the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Health, and the Governor of Riau keep your promises, in accordance with the agreed points reached in the 2015 Haze Lawsuit (Case No. 54/Pdt.G-LH/2016/PN Pbr):

  1. To open free health service posts and to evacuate children under 5, pregnant women and the elderly to ‘oxygen houses’ in areas affected by haze;
  2. To audit the permits granted to timber (HTI) and oil palm companies proved responsible for the environmental crime; 
  3. To restore the peatland and to evaluate companies not undertaking restoration in its concessions; and
    To enforce a moratorium on new HTI and oil palm permits on peatland.

Sign the petition to remind the government that forest and land fires in Riau are not just rumours, and immediate actions are needed to preserve the environment.