Clearing ‘doubles Borneo’s forest fires’

The number of forest fires on Indonesian Borneo has nearly doubled due to land clearing amid fears that hazy skies could return to the region, news agency AFP reports Indonesian official as saying.

Forest fires from Indonesia caused by traditional farming methods have been blamed for the choking haze that shrouds the region each year during the dry season.

“Our latest data shows that the number of hot spots on Kalimantan island has nearly doubled,” Israr Albar, a forestry ministry official monitoring the forest fires via satellite, told AFP.

He said that some 217 hot spots recorded on Borneo were from land clearing in West Kalimantan province, compared with 122 recorded a day earlier.

The number of hot spots on the islands of Sumatra had decreased slightly to 423 from 557, he added.

Haze from the fires resulted in air pollution levels to above official health limits in neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore.

Experts warn that the haze contributes significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions and could contribute to human-induced climate change.

Source: AFP

Date: 06/08/2008

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