Smoke from Indonesian fires hits ‘unhealthy’ levels in Singapore as authorities push to hunt offenders http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-26/smoke-from-indonesian-fires-hits-unhealthy-level-in-singapore/7790370?section=environmentAir pollution in Singapore has risen to the “unhealthy” level as acrid smoke drifted over the island from fires on Indonesia’s Sumatra island, the city-state’s National Environment Agency (NEA) said, in a repeat of an annual crisis.
Every dry season, smoke from fires set to clear land for palm oil and pulp and paper plantations in Indonesia clouds the skies over much of the region, raising concern about public health and worrying tourist operators and airlines.
The 24-hour Pollution Standards Index (PSI), which the NEA uses as a benchmark, rose as high as 105 in the afternoon — a level above 100 is considered “unhealthy”.
The NEA said it planned a “daily haze advisory” as “a burning smell and slight haze were experienced over many areas” in Singapore.
Indonesia repeatedly vows to stop the fires but each year they return.
This year, Indonesia has arrested 454 people in connection with the smoke pollution. When heavy, the choking smog closes airports and schools and prompts warnings to residents to stay indoors.
Pollution levels in neighbouring Malaysia were normal on Friday.
Singapore has pushed Indonesia for information on companies suspected of causing pollution, some of which are listed on Singapore’s stock exchange.
A forest campaigner for the environmental group Greenpeace Indonesia, Yuyun Indradi, said the Government was struggling to enforce laws to prevent the drainage of peatland for plantations and the setting of fires to clear land.
“It has become a challenge for the Government to enforce accountability among concession holders, to enforce its directives on blocking canals, and push companies to take part in efforts to restore peatland and prevent fires,” Mr Indradi said. “Now is the time for the Government to answer this challenge. It is in the law.” Greenpeace said, according to its satellite information, there were 138 fires across Indonesia on Friday.
- Conservation scientist Erik Meijaard says there is a “laissez-faire approach” to combating fires
- “Seriousness of political message hasn’t filtered through to the ground,” he says
- Disaster Management Agency insists fires are under control, confident they will not escalate
Environmentalists have urged Indonesian authorities to make good on their promises to get serious about the burning-off.
So far, much of the haze seems to be coming from the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo.
Indonesia-based conservation scientist Erik Meijaard, with the group Borneo Futures, said he was not seeing much effort to extinguish the fires but was hopeful Indonesia would act more quickly.
“West Kalimantan is again on fire quite badly — there’s a few hundred fires at least throughout the province,” he said…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-25/indonesia-fires-environmentalists-urge-authorities-to-act/7782696
Indonesia Vows No Nuclear Power Until 2050 http://jakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/business/indonesia-vows-no-nuclear-power-2050/ Banda Aceh. Indonesia will not resort to nuclear energy to meet its target of 136.7 gigawatt of power capacity by 2025 and 430 gigawatt by 2050, a minister said on Saturday.
The move means a previous $8-billion plan to operate four nuclear plants with a total capacity of 6 gigawatt by 2025 will be canceled.
“We have arrived at the conclusion that this is not the time to build up nuclear power capacity. We still have many alternatives and we do not need to raise any controversies,” Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Sudirman Said said on Saturday in Banda Aceh.
The minister spoke after the National Energy Council, a presidential advisory body, completed its latest National Energy Plan, which is to be signed by President Joko Widodo to become a presidential regulation.
The plan, last revised in 2006, lays down the ground rules and guidelines for energy development in Indonesia, as well as the country’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The plan from 2006 still left room for nuclear energy, but the latest guidelines say Indonesia should increase the use of renewable energy sources to 23 percent of its total primary energy — from the current target of 5 percent — by 2025.
Energy from coal is slashed to 30 percent from 33 percent previously, but Indonesia will rely more on oil, which is set to account for 25 percent of energy in the next decade, from the previous target of 20 percent.
Natural gas will contribute the remaining 22 percent to reach the 2025 target, Sudirman said, without providing details on the energy mix target for 2050.
The minister added that Indonesia will continue to follow developments in the field of nuclear technology and that it would remain a last-resort option for possible use beyond 2050.
While having experimented with nuclear power since the 1950s, Indonesia currently only operates three small-scale reactors: a 100-kilowatt reactor in Yogyakarta, a 250-kW reactor in Bandung and a 30-MW reactor in Serpong, in Banten.
A previous proposal to build larger-scale plants on Central Java’s Muria peninsula and in Bangka-Belitung met with resistance from local residents who feared leaks on the scale of the Fukushima disaster in equally earthquake-prone Japan.
Another place that was under consideration to host a nuclear power plant was Kalimantan, where there are no volcanoes and the relatively large distance from tectonic fault lines means the chance of devastating earthquakes is limited.
Indonesia has announced it is punishing more than 20 companies for starting deadly forest fires that killed 19 people.
Three companies have been shut down permanently after having their licences revoked over their role in the blazes that choked vast expanses of South-East Asia with acrid haze and cost Indonesia $16 billion.
It is the first time the Government has revoked company licences over forest fires, an annual occurrence caused by slash-and-burn land clearance.
The Environment Ministry also froze the operations of 14 companies and said they face closure if they do not meet the Government’s demands over fire prevention.
Several other companies have been given a strong warning and will be put under close supervision……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-22/indonesia-punishes-firms-over-deadly-forest-fires/7049190
Indonesia: fires threaten to send even modest climate ambitions up in smoke The Conversation, Sonny Mumbunan Economist and research scientist at the Research Centre for Climate Change, University of Indonesia , 26 Nov 15 At the Paris climate negotiations, Indonesia will bring to the table a target of an unconditional 29% emissions reduction by 2030, increasing to 41% on condition of international assistance.
Indonesia’s emission reduction plan (or Intended Nationally Determined Contribution) is therefore slightly higher than its 2009 commitment to reduce emissions by 26% by 2020.
There are three problems with Indonesia’s INDC. The target is not ambitious; the plan is incoherent; and with the recent massive forest fires in Indonesia that have yet to be accounted for in the INDC it does not accurately reflect emissions for Indonesia.
Such a problematic INDC would affect the global efforts to adequately tackle climate change, since Indonesia is one of the biggest carbon emitters in the world. The forest fires have pushed the country into the top ranks of global greenhouse gas emitters……https://theconversation.com/indonesia-fires-threaten-to-send-even-modest-climate-ambitions-up-in-smoke-49155
“WE will block the ship because nuclear waste is very dangerous,” sea security coordinating agenda head Vice Admiral Desi Albert Mamahit told The Jakarta Post newspaper.
“Our ships are on standby, although the ship is still far from Indonesia. We have information about the ship.”On October 16, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) confirmed a project to repatriate radioactive waste from France, where it was sent for reprocessing in the 1990s and early 2000s, and which will now be retained at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights, Sydney, facility.”Consistent with security requirements and practice established during nine previous export operations, ANSTO will not confirm the destination port, land route, or timing,” it said on its website.The Indonesians are concerned about a ship called the MV Trader, which was close to the African coast and expected to pass through the Malacca Strait, according to reports.
one reason is the complete failure of perspective in a de-skilled industry dominated by corporate press releases, photo ops and fashion shoots, where everyone seems to be waiting for everyone else to take a lead. The media makes a collective non-decision to treat this catastrophe as a non-issue, and we all carry on as if it’s not happening.
Indonesia is burning. So why is the world looking away?, Guardian George Monbiot, 30 Oct 15 A great tract of Earth is on fire and threatened species are being driven out of their habitats. This is a crime against humanity and nature “……A great tract of Earth is on fire. It looks as you might imagine hell to be. The air has turned ochre: visibility in some cities has been reduced to 30 metres. Children are being prepared for evacuation in warships; already some have choked to death. Species are going up in smoke at an untold rate. It is almost certainly the greatest environmental disaster of the 21st century – so far.
And the media? It’s talking about the dress the Duchess of Cambridge wore to the James Bond premiere, Donald Trump’s idiocy du jour and who got eliminated from the Halloween episode of Dancing with the Stars. The great debate of the week, dominating the news across much of the world? Sausages: are they really so bad for your health?
What I’m discussing is a barbecue on a different scale. Fire is raging across the 5,000km length of Indonesia. It is surely, on any objective assessment, more important than anything else taking place today. And it shouldn’t require a columnist, writing in the middle of a newspaper, to say so. It should be on everyone’s front page. It is hard to convey the scale of this inferno, but here’s a comparison that might help: it is currently producing more carbon dioxide than the US economy. And in three weeks the fires have released more CO2 than the annual emissions of Germany.
But that doesn’t really capture it. This catastrophe cannot be measured only in parts per million. The fires are destroying treasures as precious and irreplaceable as the archaeological remains being levelled by Isis. Orangutans, clouded leopards, sun bears, gibbons, the Sumatran rhinoceros and Sumatran tiger, these are among the threatened species being driven from much of their range by the flames. But there are thousands, perhaps millions, more.
One of the burning provinces is West Papua, a nation that has been illegally occupied by Indonesia since 1963. I spent six months there when I was 24,investigating some of the factors that have led to this disaster. At the time it was a wonderland, rich with endemic species in every swamp and valley. Who knows how many of those have vanished in the past few weeks? This week I have pored and wept over photos of places I loved that have now been reduced to ash.
Nor do the greenhouse gas emissions capture the impact on the people of these lands. After the last great conflagration, in 1997, there was a missing cohort in Indonesia of 15,000 children under the age of three, attributed to air pollution. This, it seems, is worse. The surgical masks being distributed across the nation will do almost nothing to protect those living in a sunless smog. Members of parliament in Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) have had to wear face masksduring debates. The chamber is so foggy that they must have difficulty recognising one another.
It’s not just the trees that are burning. It is the land itself. Much of the forest sits on great domes of peat. When the fires penetrate the earth, they smoulder for weeks, sometimes months, releasing clouds of methane, carbon monoxide, ozone and exotic gases such as ammonium cyanide. The plumes extend for hundreds of miles, causing diplomatic conflicts with neighbouring countries.
Why is this happening? Indonesia’s forests have been fragmented for decades by timber and farming companies. Canals have been cut through the peat to drain and dry it. Plantation companies move in to destroy what remains of the forest to plant monocultures of pulpwood, timber and palm oil. The easiest way to clear the land is to torch it. Every year, this causes disasters. But in an extreme El Niño year like this one, we have a perfect formula for environmental catastrophe……..
Governments ignore issues when the media ignores them. And the media ignores them because … well, there’s a question with a thousand answers, many of which involve power. But one reason is the complete failure of perspective in a de-skilled industry dominated by corporate press releases, photo ops and fashion shoots, where everyone seems to be waiting for everyone else to take a lead. The media makes a collective non-decision to treat this catastrophe as a non-issue, and we all carry on as if it’s not happening.
At the climate summit in Paris in December the media, trapped within the intergovernmental bubble of abstract diplomacy and manufactured drama, will cover the negotiations almost without reference to what is happening elsewhere. The talks will be removed to a realm with which we have no moral contact. And, when the circus moves on, the silence will resume. Is there any other industry that serves its customers so badly?
A fully linked version of this article can be found at monbiot.com http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/30/indonesia-fires-disaster-21st-century-world-media
Stand-Alone Solar Power “Container” Supports Educational Development on Remote Indonesian Island
>Panasonic, Jul 22, 2014 Indonesia consists of approximately 13,000 islands, many of which lack access to electricity due to the difficulty building large power plants and running power lines in the distinctive geography. Panasonic chose Karimunjawa Island, an island located not far from Java Island, near Jepara District, as the recipient of our installation of the Power Supply Container, an easy to set up and transport electrical supply system, in aims to make life better for the people living there.
In total, 250 people attended the ceremony, including Governor KH. Ahmad Marzuki of Jepara District, Minister Yoshiko Kijima of the Embassy of Japan in Indonesia, Representative Director Iskandar Budisaroso Kuntoadji of IBEKA, and the Executive Director Tri Mumpuni as guests of honor; and teachers and students. The guests of honor delivered congratulatory speeches; Mrs. Kijima told that she felt really happy about regional contributions through support by a Japanese company.
People in Karimunjawa Island can only use electricity at night from 6pm-6am, utilizing diesel generators. As no power is available during daytime, their crucial activities are interfered including commercial activities and certain education curriculum. In particular the opportunity to utilize electronic devices, such as fans, computers, or even lighting during the day ultimately hamper the economical development of the island. To solve this social issue, Koperasi Pundih Artah, which receives Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security, IBEKA and Panasonic have launched a project for improving the educational environment, by utilizing the Power Supply Container, under the cooperation of Jepara District and the Embassy of Japan in Indonesia.
During school hours, the Power Supply Container gives support to improve the educational environment; children can use lighting fixtures, ceiling fans and audiovisual educational materials through personal computers and TVs. When there are no classes, the electricity is sold to nearby areas through a management association of the Power Supply Container to contribute to activation of the regional community and improve the regional electricity infrastructure.
Panasonic made efforts to provide the Power Supply Container and to offer IBEKA with technical assistance in this project. Meanwhile, IBEKA is giving support for establishing management associations in Karimunjawa for independent operation of power supplies as well as provides training and supports for their operation, management and maintenance to achieve a sustainable power supply in Karimunjawa……..http://news.panasonic.net/stories/2014/0722_28041.html
Survey: Most Japanese think Fukushima nuclear accident not settled http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201307180064 July 18, 2013 By SHIGEKO SEGAWA / Staff Writer The vast majority of Japanese, 94 percent, think the nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant triggered by the earthquake and tsunami two years ago has not been put under control, a survey showed.
A research team led by Hirotada Hirose, a professor emeritus of Tokyo Woman’s Christian University, sent out questionnaires in March to 1,200 people across the nation ranging in age from 15 to 79.
According to the survey, 94 percent said that they thought the nuclear accident had not been settled. When asked for reasons, many responded that radioactive substances were still leaking from the stricken plant.
As far as who the respondents said they trust, 33 percent said disaster information disseminated from the central government and its ministries and agencies was the most untrustworthy, while 2 percent chose local governments as the most unreliable source of disaster information.
“An (effective) nuclear policy is impossible unless the central government wins the understanding and support of not only local residents living in areas that host nuclear power plants but also the support of all the people in Japan,” Hirose said.
Twenty-three percent of respondents said they believe it is only a matter of time before another accident will occur if nuclear plant operators resume operations at now-idle reactors, while 57 percent said they think a similar nuclear disaster will likely happen.
Thirty-one percent said nuclear power should be abandoned as soon as possible, whereas 54 percent said Japan should phase out nuclear power over time.
The research team presented the findings to a meeting of the Cabinet Office’s Atomic Energy Commission on July 17.
AUDIO Indonesia’s nuclear power plans http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/connect-asia/indonesias-nuclear-power-plans/1005302 24 August 2012 Pressure is mounting on Indonesia to push ahead with planning for the country’s first nuclear power plant. Neighbouring Vietnam and Malaysia already have nuclear planning firmly in place, and nuclear power advocates within government are proving to be increasingly vociferous in Jakarta.
But for now at least a long standing scheme to build a nuclear power plant in Central Java is off President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s agenda, and has been ever since the Fukushima disaster in Japan last year.
So where does Indonesia go next ? Presenter: Richard Ewart
Speaker: Professor Richard Tanter, senior research associate, Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability
TANTER: Well there certainly are companies that want to be involved in it, there are certainly also foreign companies where nuclear power vendors, like Mitsubishi in Japan, Kepco in Korea, also Russian companies.
Unfortunately though, there’s a new factor, a wild card in the election campaign for president which is now beginning to get
underway in Indonesia. One of the leading contenders, Prabowo Subianto, who has a very famous or rather infamous record of human rights violations while a Kopassus military leader. He has come out and said Indonesia must get nuclear power, so that’s a big new change.
… don’t think he [the current President] will back nuclear power….. the pressures mainly are coming from as you would say before vested interests, Continue reading
Indonesians ‘should think twice’ before going nuclear http://www thejakartapost.com/news/2012/05/03/indonesians-should-think-twice-going-nuclear.html The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, 05/03/2012 Japanese experts have warned the Indonesian government to be very careful when deciding whether to generate power from nuclear energy, arguing that the archipelago is prone to natural disasters. Continue reading
We applaud the fact that all of the nuclear-capable countries in Europe, Latin America, and many in other regions of the world have ratified the CTBT. With Indonesia’s ratification, the number of countries that have yet to do so has decreased to eight: China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, North Korea and the United States.
Endorse the nuclear test ban, Aljazeera, 18 Dec, Carl Bildt and Patricia Espinosa Cantellano Carl Bildt is Foreign Minister of Sweden. Patricia Espinosa Cantellano is Foreign Minister of Mexico. The eight remaining non-signatory countries should adopt the treaty to make the planet safer, foreign ministers say. Stockholm/Mexico City
– Indonesia’s parliament has just taken a historic step, one that makes the planet
safer from the threat of nuclear weapons. The importance of Indonesia’s decision to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) cannot be overstated. This is a golden opportunity for the remaining eight countries to endorse the CTBT and enable it to
come into legal effect. Continue reading
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said, “What happened in Japan last March can happen in Indonesia because (the two countries’) geography is very much similar.”
He suggested that in pursuing its best energy mix, the world’s most populous Muslim country is willing to consider alternative sources of energy, such as geothermal, solar and hydroelectric power, while moving to limit the use of oil and coal as energy sources in the long run….
Indonesia cautious about nuclear option after Fukushima crisis Mainichi Daily News 18 June 11 TOKYO (Kyodo) –– Visiting Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono expressed strong reservations on Friday about proceeding with plans to build nuclear power plants in his earthquake- and tsunami-prone country, following Japan’s nuclear disaster triggered by a magnitude 9.0 quake and tsunami. Continue reading
concerns over Indonesia’s geological vulnerability – such as its ill-fated position atop the “ring of fire” – in addition to Indonesia’s history of inefficiently coordinated responses to disaster…..
Then there’s the pervasive culture of corruption in Indonesia.
Fukushima crisis fails to dampen Indonesia’s nuclear ambitions guardian.co.uk, 13 April 11, Gillian Terzis “……The government is talking up the country’s nuclear future…….the reverberations of the crises at Fukushima have scarcely cast a ripple in Indonesia‘s political quarters. Two weeks after Japan’s nuclear crisis, the Indonesian government stated that it will continue to pursue an ambitious nuclear power programme of its own that will triple the country’s electricity output by 2025…… Continue reading
But experts are worried – not only about Indonesia’s regular earthquakes, one of which triggered a massive tsunami in December 2004, but also about weak government institutions and corruption.
Indonesia insists nuclear plans are safe | beyondbrics |March 17, 2011 by Anthony Deutsch Indonesia will go ahead with a feasibility study for a nuclear power plant, even as China has put plans on hold in the wake of Japan’s nuclear crisis. Continue reading
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