Indonesia’s Vice President (VP) Jusuf Kalla commented on the matter of the poor air quality experienced in Singapore on Friday (26 August).
Speaking in the VP’s office on 26 August morning, Jusuf said that the smoke caused by the forest fire which was blown to Singapore is something common due to the wind.
He said that it is up to Singapore’s Government to complain about the haze. “As long as there are lots of fire here and the wind blow to the north, the smoke must have reached Singapore. Nobody wants the smoke to reach Singapore. It is just that we can not control the wind. How do you control the wind?”.
Jusuf stated that the Indonesia Government has put in its maximum effort to put off the fire. He added that the Government has also conducted Emergency Operations which involved armies and armadas to detect and battle the fire. “We have deployed helicopters, aeroplanes, and people to put off the fire. The Government has done the best,” he said.
Asked about the complaints from Singapore, Jusuf only said, “It is up to them to complain. Whom are they going to complain to? Are they going to complain to the wind?”
Earlier, Head of Data Information and Public Relations (BNPB) Sutopo Purwo Nugroho stated that the smoke caused by the fire in Riau had reached Singapore. Based on the monitoring of air and ground by the task force, the hotspots of the forest were found in Rokan Hilir, such as in the Pujud and Bagan Sinembah.
The hotspots were also found in Bengkalis, Kampar, Rokan Hulu, and Dumai. Satellite observations of Lapan reported that there were 17 points in Riau on Friday morning (26 August). While the Task Force Command Post Integrated Land and Forest Fire Control reported there were 67 hotspots in Riau. It said that there were 44 hotspots in Rokan Hilir, 17 hotspots in Bengkalis, 4 hotspots in Siak, 2 hotspots in Rokan Hulu 4 on Friday morning.
Sutopo said, “Based on the analysis of the distribution of hotspots, wind direction, the spread of smoke from satellite and air quality showed that smoke forest and land fires in Riau carried by the wind to the East-Southeast-Northeast have reached Singapore.”
In contradiction to the statement made by Sutopo, the Head of Public Relations of the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics (BMKG) Hary Tirto Djatmiko said that the increased number of hotspots in Indonesia may have caused the smoke that has reached Singapore. However, he said that observation satellite imagery of the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics showed that the smoke had blown to the East, but it has not reached Singapore yet.
“The observation satellite imagery of the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics at 04.30 pm (local time) showed that the smoke had not reach Singapore, it is still spreading around Selat Malaka,” Hary said.
However, the National Environment Agency (NEA) reported that the PSI level on a 3 hour average reached a peak of 215 at 2 pm on Friday before dropping down back to moderate at 2am on Saturday. People residing in Singapore have been complaining about the haze on Friday and the “burning smell” that lingered in the air.
Quotes by the Indonesian local news.