Greenpeace has released drone footage showing the damage caused by forest fires burning in Gunung Palung National Park on the island of Borneo. The environmental group has dubbed the situation as “Indonesia’s carbon bomb”.
The video shows fires burning in rainforests, peatlands and oil palm plantations surrounding Gunung Palung. The park is one of the most bio-diverse areas in south-east Asia, home to a large population of endangered orangutans.
The forest fires are producing a thick smoke haze leading to health issues in the area. The Indonesian government has reported 135,000 people are now suffering with respiratory illnesses.
Greenpeace place blame on the government.
“The thick smoke haze from thousands of fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan is testament to the government’s continued failure to fulfil its commitment to end forest and peatland destruction.”
“Greenpeace’s analysis shows that so far this year, 40% of fire hotspots across Indonesia have been in peatlands, which make up a fraction of the nation’s landmass. In the year up to April 2014, 75% of fire alerts in Sumatra were on peatlands.”
“Left in its natural waterlogged condition, peatland rarely burns. Untouched tropical rainforest is similarly fire-resistant. However, two decades of forest and peatland destruction by the plantation sector have made parts of Indonesia into a giant tinderbox.”
Indonesian President Joko Widodo is in the process of asking Singapore, Russia, Malaysia and Japan for assistance in putting out the fires.
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