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Indonesia forests POTICO

Fires in Indonesia Spike to Highest Levels Since June 2013 Haze Emergency

In Indonesia, dramatic satellite images of heavy smoke plumes show the large amount of pollutants being discharged to the atmosphere. The fires are extensive in areas with deep peat soils, suggesting high volumes of carbon are being released, contributing to climate change.

Global Forest Watch shows that some of the largest fires are on fully developed plantations, despite the fact that many of these companies are committed to eliminating fire in their management practices. The persistence of the fires—and the intensity with which they have returned—raises important questions.

ASEAN Leaders Can Act to Reduce Fires and Haze

For further reading, see our op-ed in the Jakarta Post.

Less than four months ago, millions of people across Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia were choking on the worst air pollution ever recorded in Southeast Asia as hundreds of fires burned across Sumatra. The fires caused serious damage, eliciting a public health emergency, closing schools and harming tourism and other businesses.

This week the Sultan of Brunei is hosting many of Asia’s heads of state for the 23rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit. Preventing new fires and haze are high on the agenda. Key decisions and actions are urgently needed from the presidents and prime ministers this week.

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