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Jakarta Post

Minister prefers traditional blocking canals to prevent forest fires

  • Anton Hermansyah

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, March 15, 2016   /  12:57 pm
Minister prefers traditional blocking canals to prevent forest fires

Workers construct a blocking canal in a forest in Rimbo Panjang village, Riau province, on March 11 as part of efforts to prevent forest fires, which usually occur during the dry season.((Antara/Rony Maharrman)

Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadimulyono says he prefers the traditional method of constructing blocking canals to modern methods.

"A blocking canal constructed by the people is more sustainable than the ones constructed with concrete," said Basuki in Jakarta on Monday. He said that the material could easily be found near peatland.

Blocking canal construction is carried out to maintain moisture in peatland to prevent fires.

Traditional blocking canal construction methods use wood and sacks as canal walls, while newer methods involve the construction of a concrete or fiberglass canal wall, Basuki explained on Monday.

The government has intensified the development of blocking canals in Kalimantan and Sumatra forests, particularly in the peatland areas, to prevent forest fires during the dry season. Last year'€™s forest fires on two of the country'€™s main islands caused serious health problems, disrupted flights and spread haze to Singapore and Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) chairman Nazir Foead said that his institution considered the use of fiberglass in its construction of blocking canals because it was light and durable. He said that concrete blocking canals were not suitable for peatland.

"There are small and medium enterprises [SMEs] that can make fiberglass, including in Riau. The canal blocking program will empower local SMEs," Nazir told

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