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Singapore team digs in to help Riau village combat haze

pm-haze-riau-1

23 May Singapore team digs in to help Riau village combat haze

Volunteers from our partner NGO People’s Movement to Stop Haze (PM.Haze) helped build a canal block in Sungai Tohor, Riau, Indonesia, this month. PM.Haze collaborated with the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) to build the canal block, which is used to trap water and keep peat moist, helping to prevent fires. The project was featured in The Straits Times on 23 May 2017, along with quotes from PM.Haze co-founder Tan Yi Han and our own SIIA Chairman Simon Tay. SIIA staff were part of the trip to Riau. Excerpts from the article are below.

by Arlina Arshad

A group of Singaporeans has been digging up dirt with hoes and machetes in a remote Sumatra village to help stop haze from developing.

The 13 volunteers from Singapore environmental group People’s Movement to Stop Haze (PM.Haze) were in Sungai Tohor, a small coastal village in Riau province, earlier this month.

They worked with residents to construct a “canal block” – used to re-wet peatland that had been drained to make way for an acacia plantation by local pulpwood company Lestari Unggul Makmur, or PT LUM.

“What we hope to do here is show that it’s possible for Singapore and Indonesia to work together for a common good,” said PM.Haze co-founder Tan Yi Han.

Said Associate Professor Simon Tay, chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, which partnered with PM.Haze: “We want more Singaporeans to witness first hand the hard work of ordinary Indonesians to safeguard their own environment against fires and haze.”

Full Article: Joint effort results in canal block that helps prevent peatland fires [The Straits Times, 23 May 2017]

Photo Credit: ST Photos / Seah Kwang Peng