Banjarmasin (Greeners) – As land and forest fires occurred for the past 18 years in Indonesia, President Joko Widodo warned his administration to protect and prioritize preventive actions. In addition, he said, Indonesia was predicted as the world’s largest carbon emitter resulted from land and forest fires.
President Jokowi underlined hard lessons drawn from forest and land fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan. Increasing carbon emissions from burned peatlands have led to decreasing air and water qualities. It also adding deforestation and land degradation rates in Indonesia.
“Land and forest fires are not an achievement but a warning for all stakeholders. Government is committed to reduce carbon emission 29 percent by 2030. However, developed and developing nations must have the same commitment,” said President Jokowi at the Tree Planting Day celebration in Banjarmasin on Thursday (26/11).
President Jokowi had instructed provincial, district/city, district military command (kodam), sub distric military command (koramil), district police (polda), and sub district police to be ready to prevent fires next year. He said that putting out fires on peats was far more harder than preventing it to burn. It is crucial to inform local people to abandon slash and burn practice to clear the lands.
“Even if we dispatch hundreds of water bombing planes, it will be useless if there are no preventive actions. So, they must be implemented by next year. We must focus on preventing land and forest fires especially peatlands,” he added.
Meanwhile, Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya Bakar, said that strategy to accelerate forest and land rehabilitation (RHL) would be involving all stakeholders including government agencies, ministries, private sectors, NGOs, universities and schools.
To reach that goal, Minister Siti Nurbaya, requestes for active participation of all Indonesians to support government’s programs related to forest and land rehabilitation. One of the programs is plant and protect trees movement.
The strategy involves capacity building through students from elementary schools to universities, campaign through newly married couples to encourage their guests to plant and protect at least five trees per person, ban all permits in peatlands, post-fires actions such as canal blocking, replanting, and bureaucracy reform in all sectors.
“To achieve that strategy, we ask for public to continue to support government’s programs related to forest and land rehabilitation through planting and protecting trees movement. Through HMPI, BMN and 2015 HCSPN, we must increase our awareness on the importance of forest’s roles for our lives,” she added.
President Jokowi, accompanied by First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo, attended the Tree Planting Day. Hundreds of elementary students also participated at the event.
As much as 10,000 trees were planted at the location. The Tahura has been rehabilitated as 105 hectares out of 116,000 hectares were burned down.
The planting will be done in several phases. Two thousands trees have been planted and the rest will be planted since Nov. 23.
President Jokowi planted Tengkawang tree, meanwhile Iriana Jokowi planted kasturi tree. President encouraged Indonesians to work together to grow the country’s forest through Tree Planting Day, National Tree Planting Month, and 2015 National Flora and Fauna Day.
Reports by Danny Kosasih.