27 October 2015
Indonesia may take as long as a decade to permanently curb the plantation land-burning that sends choking smog across swathes of Southeast Asia each year, according to a research fellow at Nanyang Technological University.
Although Indonesia has ratified a regional agreement committing it to act to reduce the smoke “haze” caused by the land fires, the law has yet to be enacted locally in its districts, said Jonatan Anderias Lassa, a research fellow at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies at the Singapore university.
“They need to bring down that law into local legislative processes,” Lassa told reporters in Singapore on Monday, adding that a division of resources between central and local governments was also required. “It hasn’t been done, and it takes five to 10 years to do that.”
Exacerbated by dry conditions from the El Nino weather phenomenon, this year’s haze is among the worst on record. Stinging smoke from the illegal burning to clear land for palm oil and paper plantations have blanketed Singapore, parts of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand for over a month. Besides prompting school closures and disrupting sea and air travel in the region, the smog has also forced some in Indonesia to flee their homes.
Lassa estimates that an initial investment of $10 to $20 million could help the Indonesian government kick start the enactment of locally relevant legislation in the 211 affected districts on the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan.
NTS Centre / Online
Last updated on 13/11/2015