The Jakarta Post
Haze has reached Batam, in Riau Islands province, as forest fires in Jambi and South Sumatra spread and the number of hot spots in those provinces increases, according to meteorological data, but the haze is yet to have an impact on flights.
Agus Tri from the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) at Hang Nadin Airport in Batam said on Friday that the wind had blown from mainland Sumatra toward Batam, taking with it smoke from the forest fires.
'Visibility is still 8,000 to 10,000 meters. It is still safe for transportation,' Agus said as quoted by Antara.
He warned, however, that it could be worse because the number of hot spots in Jambi jumped drastically to 4,000 on Friday from just 1,000 the day before. Of particular concern he said, would be the wind continuing blow in the direction of Batam.
'If the visibility decrease drastically, we will inform the public,' said Agus, but added that there was not yet any indication that would happen.
Annual cross-border air pollution caused by uncontrolled land clearing on Indonesian plantations has been a source of discontent among Indonesia's neighbors since the 1990s. In 2013, smoky haze from forest fires in Indonesia spread to Singapore and Malaysia, causing Singapore's worst air pollution in 16 years. (bnn)(++++)
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