Presidential plane  lands smoothly at  haze-shrouded  Riau airport
Published on: Wednesday, September 18, 2019
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Several ships parked at smallholder port in Siak River when thick smoke blanketed Pekanbaru.
PEKANBARU: The presidential aircraft carrying President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) landed smoothly at Sultan Syarif Kasim II Airport in Pekanbaru at 6.30 p.m. Monday as thick smoke enveloped the Riau provincial capital in the past few days. 

The President paid an impromptu visit to Riau to observe the smog and monitor the handling of forest and land fires in the province.

Air pollution in Pekanbaru surged up to 300 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) between September 9 and 13, exceeding the daily PM10 threshold of 150 µg/m3, Head of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) Dwikorita Karnawati said in Jakarta on Saturday.

BMKG measures air quality using particulate matter (PM10), meaning that if the particle in the air is less than 10 micrograms it is hazardous for humans when it is inhaled.

The other city whose air quality exceeded the threshold level on September 12 and 13 is Jambi.

Meanwhile, Jokowi has appealed to state apparatus both in central and regional levels to remain united in handling wildfires.

“Preventive measures to tackle forest and land fires is absolutely necessary. Because if there has been a fire, it is very difficult to resolve, especially in peatlands as we have experienced for years,” said the President during a limited meeting as quoted from the official statement of the Head of the Presidential press bureau.

The President opined that government institutions, either in the central, regional, and security apparatus levels, are capable of carrying out all the prevention efforts.

However, he said, ineffective cooperation that lack of initiatives triggered forest and land fires to recur.

“A governor has many staffers, such as district head, mayor, sub-district head, and village head. A Military Commander also has many from danrem (resort commander), dandim (district commander), to Koramil (regional commander), babinsa (village supervisory non-commissioned officers), every [level of institution] is there. Regional Police Chief also has a resort police chief, sector police chief, to village-level security and public order advisors,” he outlined.

However, Jokowi assessed that these institutions were not activated properly, so he asked all from central to regional administration to consolidate in handling wildfires thoroughly. 


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