Sunday, Sep 20, 2020 | Last Update : 05:21 PM IST

180th Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra118801585793332216 Andhra Pradesh6177765307115302 Tamil Nadu5364774812738751 Karnataka5113454048417922 Uttar Pradesh3362942632884771 Delhi2347011981034877 West Bengal2155801870614183 Telangana1713061397001033 Odisha167161133466722 Bihar164224149722855 Assam150349121610528 Kerala12221687341490 Gujarat119088999083271 Rajasthan109088906851293 Haryana103773816901069 Madhya Pradesh97906743981877 Punjab90032658182646 Chhatisgarh7777541111628 Jharkhand6710052807590 Jammu and Kashmir5971138521951 Uttarakhand3713924810460 Goa2678320844327 Puducherry2142816253431 Tripura2069612956222 Himachal Pradesh11190691997 Chandigarh92566062106 Manipur8430653951 Arunachal Pradesh6851496713 Nagaland5306407910 Meghalaya4356234232 Sikkim2119178923 Mizoram15069490
  World   Asia  28 May 2020  Indonesia starts cloud seeding to keep forest fires at bay

Indonesia starts cloud seeding to keep forest fires at bay

AFP
Published : May 28, 2020, 3:28 pm IST
Updated : May 28, 2020, 3:28 pm IST

Last year's fires were the worst since 2015 due to dry weather, with around 1.6 million hectares of land razed by the blazes

Representational Image. (AP)
 Representational Image. (AP)

Jakarta: Indonesia has started cloud seeding to induce rain as the archipelago moves to head off annual forest fires blamed for blanketing swathes of Southeast Asia in toxic haze.

Last year's fires were the worst since 2015 due to dry weather, with around 1.6 million hectares (3.95 million acres) of land, mostly on Sumatra and Borneo islands, razed by the out-of-control blazes.

 

Authorities deployed tens of thousands of personnel and water-bombing aircraft to tackle the fires, which are often intentionally set to clear land for agriculture -- including on palm oil and pulp plantations.

Over the past two weeks, Indonesia has started cloud seeding -- a technique that uses chemicals to induce rain -- in hotspot Riau province on Sumatra, with plans to roll it out in other parts of the island and in Borneo.

The operations were to last throughout the dry season, which is expected to end around September.

"We're taking this step before the forest fires start," said Tri Handoko Seto at the government-backed Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT).

 

The initial focus would be on swampy, carbon-rich peatlands which become highly flammable when they are drained of water to grow crops, he added.

Last year's fires sent a toxic haze across Southeast Asia that forced school closures and sparked fresh concerns about carbon emissions from the blazes aggravating global warming.

Greenpeace warned that haze and the global coronavirus pandemic could be a deadly combination after the UN said last year that the forest fires put millions at risk from air pollution.

"This year, we are facing a global health crisis with a virus that affects people's lungs," the environmental group said.

 

"Companies and governments have a crucial and unprecedented responsibility to take steps to prevent the deadly haze from the forest fires as it will only double the threat to the health of millions across the region."

Current estimates suggest the blazes won't be as bad as last year, Seto said.

"But we never know" for sure, he added.

"If things escalate and we see haze like last year, we might use another technique. Let's pray it won't come to that."

Tags: cloud seeding, forest fire, summer 2020, coronavirus pandemic