WALHI adalah forum organisasi Non Pemerintah, Organisasi Masyarakat dan kelompok pecinta Alam terbesar di Indonesia.WALHI bekerja membangun gerakan menuju tranformasi sosial, kedaulatan rakyat dan keberlanjutan Lingkungan Hidup.

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Sabtu, September 17, 2011

Govt to seed clouds for 30 days to fight S. Sumatra forest fires

The South Sumatra provincial administration will launch a weather control program to stop the forest fires and haze that have plagued to province for the last month, according to an official.

The weather modification program will be administered by the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) and is expected to last 30 days.

BPPT Artificial Rain division head Heru Widodo said that artificial rain, also known as cloud seeding, was first introduced in Indonesia in 2007 and had proven effective in overcoming haze.

According to the agency’s plan, two CASA C-212-200 planes will be used to spray 1 ton of salt into the air on the first day of the project.

“However, everything depends of the natural conditions. If clouds have fully developed, rain will fall in a matter of minutes. If not, we will fly four times a day to conduct cloud seeding,” Heru told reporters on Monday.

Between one and two tons of salt a day is needed to seed clouds, at a cost of Rp 144 million (about US$17,000). Seven tons of salt have been prepared for the project.

Field coordinator Sunu Tikno said that the salt would be sprayed around potential clouds and, if successful, rain would fall around 120 minutes after seeding.

“Usually, cloud seeding is carried out after 12 noon, as the clouds develop,” he said.

South Sumatra Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head Yulizar Dinoto said 894 active hot spots have been recorded in the forested areas of several regencies, including Ogan Komering Ilir, Musi Banyuasin, Banyuasin, Musi Rawas and Muaraenim.

“The fires come from forests, peatlands, bushes and plantations,” he said.

South Sumatra Governor Alex Noerdin urged residents not to set fires, especially in forests, during the dry season, to minimize accidental fires, and threatened stern action against offenders.

Alex said that he was shocked to learn that some plantation companies were not equipped with fire-fighting equipment and personnel and said he would follow up and evaluate the matter.

Separately, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment’s (Walhi) South Sumatra branch deplored statements issued by several regency administrations and government agencies in the province that blamed local residents for the fires.

“The accusations are not objective. Based on actual facts, the central government and the provincial administration were the ones who previously issued licenses to plantation and timber processing companies in the forested and peatland areas,” Walhi’s South Sumatra executive Anwar Sadat said.

According to Walhi, there were 170 hot spots in industrial production forests (HTI) or in areas controlled by estate companies.

“Forest fires in South Sumatra have happened again and again. Warnings from several research institutions seem to have fallen on the deaf ears of the government officials,” Anwar said.

He said artificial rain would only temporarily solve the problem and that a concrete and economic way should be found to limit fires.

Walhi agreed with the ban on resident’s using fire to clear peatlands, Anwar said, adding, however, that such a ban might infringe on the people’s rights.

He said lackluster law enforcement had contributed to the problem

Sumber : The jakarta Post 

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