October 24, 2019

Sinarmas concession burns on President's inauguration day

JAKARTA (foresthints.news) - Another controversial lesson has been learned with regard to Asia Pulp and Paper (APP Sinarmas) after areas in one of its concessions (PT BMH) - one of the main suppliers for the OKI mill - were ravaged by peat fires once again, having also burned in 2015.

In fact, these fires happened on the day of President Joko Widodo's inauguration for a second period (Oct 20), thereby contributing to haze on that noteworthy day.

This incident again disproves APP's claim from its 2016 sustainability report - signed by chairperson Linda Wijaya - that the company is able to tackle confirmed hotspots up to 5 km up from its concession boundaries, given that the fires took place inside the concession itself.

This case adds to the evidence showing that APP remains linked to haze-causing peat fires at a certain level this year. PT BMH, which lies in South Sumatra's OKI regency, is among the sources of these haze-causing fires, reminding the public of similar major cases in 2014 and 2015.

The satellite images below reaffirm the baselessness of APP's claim from its sustainability report, demonstrating that the company is unable to protect areas within its concessions, let alone those up to 5 km beyond its concessions, as in the PT BMH case.

APP has exhibited an embarrassing lack of class by neglecting to protect even areas within the PT BMH concession from peat fires, especially on President Jokowi's inauguration day. 

APP, which often looks for scapegoats to blame for its own failings, in this case faces undeniable evidence that it failed to prevent haze-causing peat fires at a certain level on the very important state day.

APP's tendency to provide excuses for its shortcomings is exemplified by recent responses it has given to foresthints.news about the haze-causing peat fires in its concessions, blaming them, among other things, on drier conditions this year.

In the PT BMH case, however, this excuse actually amplifies APP's responsibility, given that this APP company was engaged in new peat ecosystem practices near the burned areas, making it much easier for the peat ecosystem to catch fire in the drier conditions. 

A series of recent news reports by foresthints.news has previously exposed how several APP companies have failed to prevent fires in their concessions in RiauJambi and West Kalimantan, with one concession even sealed by Indonesian forestry authorities.