An aerial photo of forest and land fire in Tapin, South Kalimantan, on September 9, 2020. (Antara Photo/Bayu Pratama S)

Gapki Gears Up to Prevent Forest Fires in S. Kalimantan

BY :JAYANTY NADA SHOFA

AUGUST 26, 2021

Jakarta. The South Kalimantan chapter of the Indonesian Palm Oil Association, or Gapki, is gearing up to keep the province free from forest and land fires as the dry season continues. 

The chapter’s members recently gathered in a virtual assembly, where they vowed to keep their guards up for forest fires. 

“This virtual assembly is to encourage and ensure all plantation companies in South Kalimantan —especially the Gapki members— are on alert in preventing and containing the forest, and land fires in the province,” Gapki chairman Joko Supriyono told a conference on Wednesday.

South Kalimantan usually enters its dry season in July, according to Joko. 

He also named forest fire a "highly complex issue" with an array of causative factors — starting from many open-access lands, flammable peatlands, and people's lack of awareness towards the issue. And not to mention the land encroachments.

"This is why we should all work together,” he said.

Joko applauded the Gapki members for adhering to the zero-burning policy. But when it comes to dealing with forest fires, companies must not be self-centered. Joko then urged plantation companies to fight forest fires not only within but also outside their concessions. 

"It is impossible for companies to only focus on saving themselves [from forest fires]. That is not enough," Joko said.

South Kalimantan Gapki played a clip of its member companies taking their forest fire pledge at the conference. 

“We are ready to mobilize all of our human resources, facilities, and infrastructure, to prevent and contain the forest fires. [...] And to collaborate with all elements in the society, as well as the government,” they said in unison.

“We are ready to keep the skies blue,” they added.

Gapki has inked a memorandum of understanding with Telkom to install a smoke detection app dubbed “Asap Digital,” Gapki’s South Kalimantan chapter secretary Hero Setiawan told the same conference.

“Asap Digital enables us to detect smoke. [...] Many member companies are also deploying drones,” Hero said.

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