Connect with us

Environment

Indonesian forest fires surge, intense smoke floats over neighbours Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia

The Thaiger

Published

 

on

Indonesian forest fires surge, intense smoke floats over neighbours Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia | The Thaiger

“The number of “hotspots” has jumped sharply in Indonesia on Wednesday, according to the Singapore-based ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre.”

Intense forest fires continue to rage across the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan in recent weeks. More than 930,000 hectares of land have been burned, hundreds of residents evacuated, and more than 9,000 personnel have been deployed to fight the fires.

Smoke from the fires is causing intense haze and smog in the capitals KL, Singapore and part os southern Thailand. Borneo island is also being affected.

The number of blazes in Indonesia’s rainforests has jumped sharply, spreading smog across south east Asia and adding to concerns about the impact of increasing wildfire outbreaks worldwide on global warming.

Illegal blazes to clear land for agricultural plantations have been raging on Sumatra and Borneo islands, with Indonesia deploying water-bombing helicopters and thousands of security forces to tackle them.

It is just the latest such outbreak worldwide – huge blazes have torn through the Amazon in South America while bushfires are sweeping across eastern Australia in an unusually ferocious and early start to the wildfire season.

Indonesia’s forest fires are an annual problem but have been worsened this year by particularly dry weather, and in recent days sent toxic smog floating over Malaysia and triggered a diplomatic row.

The number of “hotspots” – areas of intense heat detected by satellite which indicate a high chance of fire – jumped sharply in Indonesia on Wednesday, according to the Singapore-based ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre.

There were 1,619 hotspots detected on the Indonesian part of Borneo and Sumatra up from 861 a day earlier, according to a tally from the centre, which monitors forest fires and smog outbreaks.

Kiki Taufik, a forests campaigner with Greenpeace in Indonesia, told AFP there has been little rain in the past fortnight, particularly on Indonesian Borneo which saw the sharpest increase in hotspots.

Borneo is shared between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

Burning issue

Taufik saw similarities between the blazes in Indonesia and those in the Amazon, where farmers also start fires to clear land for agriculture.

“This should remind people we are facing a climate crisis,” he said of the recent fires around the world.

“Industries are looking to expand plantations using fires.”

And he warned Indonesia’s fires would add to the sprawling archipelago’s climate-damaging emissions, already among the highest in the world.

In 2015 Indonesia suffered its worst forest fires for almost two decades, which dramatically increased its greenhouse gas emissions.

Diplomatic tensions were also rising as Malaysian Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin accused her Indonesian counterpart of being “in denial”, after Jakarta insisted fires in Malaysia had caused the smog there.

“Let the data speak for itself,” she said in a Facebook post, indicating figures from the ASEAN centre which showed only a handful of hotspots in Malaysia compared to the hundreds in Indonesia.

Indonesian Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar hit back Wednesday, telling AFP that “hotspots are not only found in Indonesia, but also in Sarawak (on Malaysian Borneo) and peninsular Malaysia”.

“We are not standing idly by,” she added.

Indonesian security forces have been struggling to tame the blazes as many burn underground in carbon-rich peat, which has been cleared across vast areas of Indonesia for plantations.

After being cleared and drained of water, peat is highly combustible and hard to extinguish once ablaze.

There have been some outbreaks of fire in the Malaysian part of Borneo. Drone footage taken by AFP in the area showed smoke rising from charcoal grey patches of smouldering earth, surrounded by pristine forest.

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.



Find more SE Asian News courtesy of The Thaiger.

Broke? Find employment in Southeast Asia with JobCute Thailand and SmartJob Indonesia. Rich? Invest in real estate across Asia with FazWaz Property Group or get out on a yacht anywhere with Boatcrowd. Even book medical procedures worldwide with MyMediTravel, all powered by DB Ventures.

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Environment

Our oceans are key to fighting climate change

The Thaiger

Published

on

Our oceans are key to fighting climate change | The Thaiger

“There are at least three types of actions humans can take to help repair the damage and ensure that oceans don’t turn from friend to foe.”

Humanity must heal oceans made sick by climate change and pollution to protect marine life and to save itself, experts warned days before the release of a major UN report.

By absorbing a quarter of manmade CO2 and soaking up more than 90% of the heat generated by greenhouse gases, oceans keep the population alive – but at a terrible cost, according to a draft of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) assessment.

Our seas have grown acidic, potentially undermining their capacity to draw down CO2. Warmer surface water has expanded the force and range of deadly tropical storms. Marine heatwaves are wiping out coral reefs, and accelerating the melt-off of glaciers and ice sheets driving sea level rise.

Dan Laffoley, strategic lead for ocean protection at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, quoted fire and brimstone from The Bible.

“The last book of the Bible talks about the four horseman of the Apocalypse.”

“For the oceans, the lead horseman is surface warming. The three others are ocean heating, loss of oxygen and acidification.”

There are at least three types of actions humans can take to help repair the damage and ensure that oceans don’t turn from friend to foe, scientists say.

1. Restoration, protection

Less than seven percent of oceans, which cover 70%t of Earth’s surface, benefit from some form of regional or national protection, often with minimal enforcement. Ocean advocates and experts say the area safeguarded must be vastly expanded.

“We need to protect 30% of the ocean by 2030,” said Lisa Speer, director of the international oceans program at the National Resources Defense Council in Washington D.C.

“This cannot be achieved without a high seas agreement.”

UN negotiations for a treaty to regulate exploitation of the high seas – waters beyond national jurisdiction covering nearly half the planet – began last fall, and could take years to complete.

At the same time, regions not included in marine parks or conservation areas “must be managed in a cautious and durable way,” Tom Dillon, Vice President of Pew Charitable Trust, told AFP.

Restoring coastal mangroves and seagrass meadows, meanwhile, would draw down CO2 emissions, and shield coastal communities from storm surges as a bonus.

These “blue carbon” ecosystems could potentially stock just under a billion tonnes of CO2 per year, about two percent of current emissions, according to the UN report.

2. Renewable engird

Off-shore and ocean-based renewable energy – including wind, wave, tidal, currents and solar – could meet a significant slice of future energy demand, numerous studies have shown. Such schemes are mostly experimental and thus costly per unit of energy generated, but economies-of-scale are possible.

Floating wind farms, for example, fuelled by high wind speed over the open ocean could eventually generate more electricity than those on land, Carnegie Institution for Science researchers reported in PNAS.

In winter, North Atlantic wind farms “could provide sufficient energy to meet all of civilisation’s current needs,” the authors said.

“That’s a bit of fantasy, but it makes the point that these technologies have not been sufficiently developed,” said Jean-Pierre Gattuso, a senior scientist at France’s National Centre for Scientific Research.

There are several ready to be scaled up, he said.

3. Geoengineering

The failure of humanity to draw down planet-warming greenhouse gases, which continue to rise year-on-year, has opened the door to other ideas once thought risky or far-fetched, such as injecting particles into the upper atmosphere to deflect the Sun’s radiation.

Some geoengineering schemes to cool Earth’s surface or reduce CO2 are ocean-based.

One that has been tested with inconclusive results involves sowing the open ocean with iron to create phytoplankton colonies that absorb CO2 as they photosynthesise. When the tiny creatures die, they drag the CO2 into the inky depths.

Another scheme would brighten mirror-like marine clouds to reflect sunlight back into space. Spreading long-lasting white foam across vast expanses of open water would, in theory, have the same effect.

Scientists from Princeton and Beijing Normal University recently costed a plan to build an underwater barrier in front of an Antarctic glacier the size of England to help prevent warm ocean water from eroding its underbelly, thus preventing the glacier from slipping into the sea.

The price tag was several hundred billion dollars.

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Continue Reading

Environment

Ban of 3 herbicides agreed, with conditions

May Taylor

Published

on

Ban of 3 herbicides agreed, with conditions | The Thaiger

PHOTO: www.asiaone.com

Thai PBS World reports that Thailand’s National Hazardous Substances Committee says it will agree to banning paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos, provided that the alternatives proposed are effective, affordable for farmers, and less hazardous.

Committee chairman Apijin Chotikasathien gave the undertaking yesterday, while giving the Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives 60 days to come up with alternatives.

Mr Apijin says the Agricultural Technique Department has always said there are no alternatives that meet the requirements outlined by the committee.

The committee also notes the need to build understanding between the state and those who currently import the hazardous herbicides, as well as farmers and other consumers about the dangers of the 3 weed killers.

Prior to the committee meeting, it’s understood that members of the Rak Mae Khlong voluntary network offered moral support to committee members, in the hope that use of the herbicides would continue to be allowed.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Continue Reading

Environment

Thai Minister Manunya a lone voice to have 3 herbicides banned

The Thaiger

Published

on

Thai Minister Manunya a lone voice to have 3 herbicides banned | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Thaiger

Deputy Agriculture Minister Manunya Thaiseth (the OTHER deputy, not the embattled Thannamat Prompeo) is complaining that she appears to be a lone voice amongst the bureaucrats and politicians to have three toxic agricultural chemicals – paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos – banned within this year, as promised.

She says that she’s not receiving any cooperation from the Agricultural Chemicals Control Office of the Agricultural Technique Department. They’re not providing information about the inventories of the three herbicides held in warehouses throughout the country and has had to research the information by other means.

Asked about the conspicuous silence from Industry Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit on the matter, Ms. Manunya said “Don’t you have pity for me for having to work alone?  Even some documents (about inventories of the three chemicals), I have to find them myself despite being a minister,” according to the Thai PBS World article.

The decision to ban the three herbicides rests with the 29 member Toxic Substances Committee under the jurisdiction of the Industry Ministry.

The deputy agriculture minister from the Bhumjaithai party says it was her job to submit her proposal for the ban to the Toxic Substances Committee, adding that it was beyond her authority to make the decision.

She said that she would like the vote by the committee to be held in the open, not behind closed doors, because this is an important issue that affects a lot of people.

“For the people who make the decision, if they want to keep the three toxic chemicals, they should know why and must be ready to explain why. We must be ready to accept the consequences of their decision.”

In the last meeting of the Toxic Substances Committee, the committee voted by 16to 5 in favour of continued use of the three herbicides, with the rest of the committee members being absent or abstaining from the vote.

Consumer groups, social media and the broader community have been putting pressure on the government to ban the herbicides, citing numerous studies reporting the health hazards posed by them.  They also accused the committee of siding with big business by refusing to ban the substances.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Continue Reading

The Thaiger Newsletter

Keep up with all the day’s news. Subscribe here.

The latest news and information from Thailand.

* indicates required
คลิปไฮไลท์วอลเลย์บอลเวิลด์คัพ 2019 นัดที่ 5 | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล2 days ago

คลิปไฮไลท์วอลเลย์บอลเวิลด์คัพ 2019 นัดที่ 5

ถ่ายทอดสดการออกรางวัลสลากกินแบ่งรัฐบาล งวดวันที่ 16 ก.ย.2562 | The Thaiger
ตรวจหวย6 days ago

ถ่ายทอดสดการออกรางวัลสลากกินแบ่งรัฐบาล งวดวันที่ 16 ก.ย.2562

คลิปไฮไลท์ วอลเลย์บอลเวิลด์คัพ 2019 นัดที่ 1 | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล1 week ago

คลิปไฮไลท์ วอลเลย์บอลเวิลด์คัพ 2019 นัดที่ 1

Paramount เตรียมรีเมค FACE/OFF หนังบู๊ระดับตำนาน | The Thaiger
หนัง2 weeks ago

Paramount เตรียมรีเมค FACE/OFF หนังบู๊ระดับตำนาน

ประยุทธ์ โต้ รัฐบาลไหนก็มีตำหนิทั้งนั้น “ถึงเวลาก็อ้างอย่างที่ผมอ้าง” | The Thaiger
ข่าวการเมือง2 weeks ago

ประยุทธ์ โต้ รัฐบาลไหนก็มีตำหนิทั้งนั้น “ถึงเวลาก็อ้างอย่างที่ผมอ้าง”

อารัมภบท รักฉุดใจนายฉุกเฉิน My ambulance ตอนแรก 6 กันยานี้ | The Thaiger
บันเทิง2 weeks ago

อารัมภบท รักฉุดใจนายฉุกเฉิน My ambulance ตอนแรก 6 กันยานี้

วอลเลย์บอลหญิงชิงแชมป์ยุโรป 2019 โฉมหน้า 4 ทีมตัดเชือกรอบรอง | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล2 weeks ago

วอลเลย์บอลหญิงชิงแชมป์ยุโรป 2019 โฉมหน้า 4 ทีมตัดเชือกรอบรอง

บิ๊กไบก์หัวร้อน ตบหัวลุงพิการผัวะ ‘รถกูเป็นอะไร มีปัญญารับผิดชอบไหม’ | The Thaiger
ข่าวไทย3 weeks ago

บิ๊กไบก์หัวร้อน ตบหัวลุงพิการผัวะ ‘รถกูเป็นอะไร มีปัญญารับผิดชอบไหม’

“มิน พีชญา”ทุ่มสุดตัว นัวผู้ชายเกือบสิบ ป่วยโรคติดเซ็กซ์ ใน”สองนรี” | The Thaiger
บันเทิง3 weeks ago

“มิน พีชญา”ทุ่มสุดตัว นัวผู้ชายเกือบสิบ ป่วยโรคติดเซ็กซ์ ใน”สองนรี”

ไฮไลท์ผู้เล่นตัวท้อป 8 ทีมสุดท้าย วอลเลย์บอลชิงแชมป์ยุโรป 2019 | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล3 weeks ago

ไฮไลท์ผู้เล่นตัวท้อป 8 ทีมสุดท้าย วอลเลย์บอลชิงแชมป์ยุโรป 2019

เคาะแล้ว สนามโคราช จัดแข่งวอลเลย์บอลคัดโอลิมปิก | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล3 weeks ago

เคาะแล้ว สนามโคราช จัดแข่งวอลเลย์บอลคัดโอลิมปิก

คลิปวงจรปิดฉาว อส.ชลบุรี ทุบเด็กแว้นนอนเจ็บคาเตียงโรงพยาบาล | The Thaiger
ข่าวไทย4 weeks ago

คลิปวงจรปิดฉาว อส.ชลบุรี ทุบเด็กแว้นนอนเจ็บคาเตียงโรงพยาบาล

ถ่ายทอดสดวอลเลย์บอลไทย-ญี่ปุ่น รอบชิงชนะเลิศ ชิงแชมป์เอเชีย | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล4 weeks ago

ถ่ายทอดสดวอลเลย์บอลไทย-ญี่ปุ่น รอบชิงชนะเลิศ ชิงแชมป์เอเชีย

ปังมาก “โมเม ธนัชชา” เล่นลีกญี่ปุ่น ทีมบลูแคท | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล4 weeks ago

ปังมาก “โมเม ธนัชชา” เล่นลีกญี่ปุ่น ทีมบลูแคท

ชาวเน็ตชม วินัยนศ.ญี่ปุ่น ไม่ยอมให้คนไทยขี่จยย.บนฟุตปาธ (คลิป) | The Thaiger
คลิปข่าว1 month ago

ชาวเน็ตชม วินัยนศ.ญี่ปุ่น ไม่ยอมให้คนไทยขี่จยย.บนฟุตปาธ (คลิป)

Trending