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Flights disrupted as haze worsens in Jambi JAMBI - Increasing smoke and haze from bush and forest fires in the past week around Jambi city have disrupted flights and led to respiratory problems among residents. M. Sidabutar, the head of Sultan Thaha Airport Management, said on Monday that the worsening haze had decreased pilot visibility so many flights in and out of Jambi had to be delayed. "We have informed Jakarta and other airports in order to delay flights to Jambi as the haze thickened this morning," said Sidabutar.
Due to the haze, an airplane from Sriwijaya airlines arrived in Jambi airport two hours late at 10 a.m. A similar story occurred with Mandala airlines, which arrived at 11:30, two and a half hours late. The airplanes had to wait for the haze to lift. Haze in the city is usually quite thick in the morning, but gradually lifts in the afternoon. Despite the disruptions, Sidabutar said none of the flights were completely canceled.
Aryana Yassin, the chief of Meteorology and Geophysics in Sultan Thaha Airport, said that the visibility in Jambi had been under 500 meters in the past few days, especially in the morning and evening. The ideal visibility for pilots is 1.5 to 2.2 kilometers. Given the short visibility in the morning and afternoon, he told the pilot and airport authorities to only allow flights in the afternoon, when visibility is better.
Meanwhile, satellite data with the North Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that there were 28 hot spots throughout Jambi on Sunday, but that number rose to 287 on Monday. Most of the hot spots were detected in Muarojambi, East Tanjungjabung and West Tanjungjabung regencies. Over 60 hot spots were detected in Berbak National Park, which has an abundance of unique animal and plant life. Joko Fajar, the chief of Forest Fire Management in the province, said that he would focus on putting out fires in the national park.
Separately, officials from the Jambi Environmental Impact Management Body said on Monday that the haze in the city had endangered the health of local residents. Air quality has been worsening in the city in the past few days, said Saleh Sibly, the agency's chairman. The amount of particles per 10 microns in the air was 350 and 395 on Monday and Sunday respectively, far from the normal level of 100 particles per 10 microns.
Given the poor quality of Jambi's air, Saleh advised Jambi residents to wear masks while outside. He also suggested that, if possible, people should stay at home. Saleh blamed the haze on fires from illegal land clearance in Jambi in the past week. The land clearance has apparently been perpetrated by companies and individuals. Most perpetrators argue that clearing land by burning the forest was cheaper and easier than any other method. There is also another benefit from the land clearing through slash and burn practices, namely that the burned trees had been natural fertilizer for the land.
Haze has been annual problem in Sumatra's province of Jambi, and also Kalimantan island. The haze problem has not only affected Indonesia, but also other neighboring countries such as Malaysia and Singapore. Despite efforts at regional cooperation, the haze problem has continues unabated on Sumatra and Indonesian Borneo.



Posted in Weather @ 07 September 2004 00:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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