An article by Rizal Harahap, The Jakarta Post.

The thick haze that has been blanketing Riau does not only originate from the province itself but is apparently also from neighboring countries that are also facing forest fire problems, particularly Malaysia, according to an official.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) head Syamsul Maarif said that the NOAA-18, Terra and Aqua satellites, belonging to the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), detected thousands of hotspots across Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar on Thursday.

“Forest fires […] in Sumatra, such as those in Riau, Jambi, Aceh and North Sumatra are nothing compared to fires that have been occurring in mainland Southeast Asia,” Syamsul said from the haze disaster mitigation post at Roesmin Nurjadin Airbase in Pekanbaru, Riau.

He confirmed that as of Thursday, smog covering neighboring countries was not from Indonesia.

“We have made sure that Malaysia and Singapore are not affected by the Riau haze. Based on our monitoring, the haze is heading to West and North Sumatra,” he continued.

“Don’t blame Indonesia if other countries are blanketed by haze, because [those] countries are also facing [their own] haze problems,” he added.

In fact, Syamsul said that some of the haze that had been covering parts of Indonesia was from Malaysia. “This time around, the wind is blowing from the east to the southwest. Haze from Malaysia has now reached Indonesia,” Syamsul said.

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