Singaporean man heads to Riau, joins fight against forest fires

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NSTworld: “Being there really gives you the full experience of how difficult it is to put out a peat fire.' Riau Haze Singapore

Together with Indonesian peatland restoration group Ekonomi Kreatif Andalan , he travelled about 20km – about an hour on motorcycle – to Tanjung Sari village the next day to help relieve volunteer firefighters.

He and his group brought N95 masks, food and water to the firefighters who were stationed at the edge of the forest that was on fire. One technique required them to use their shoes to loosen up the soil so that more water can enter the ground. In another method, Tay was instructed to aim the hose at a tree to simulate the effect of rain.Indonesian firefighters battle a forest fire, one of many spewing toxic haze across the region causing an increase in reports of respiratory illnesses, in Kampar, Riau. - AFP

Unlike non-peat forest fires, Tay said, peat forest fires travel underground, making it difficult for the fires to be put out completely.Peatland rehabilitation restores the degrading peatlands in two ways: By re-wetting the peatlands to prevent the land from burning and reducing the fire risk and by replanting and rebuilding the soil of disturbed land.

“The haze may come from Indonesia but, as consumers, we can play a part and call for more sustainable practices. We should take a stance of shared responsibility towards the haze issue,” he said.

 

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