JAKARTA: It will take three years for results to be seen from efforts to end the huge annual forest fires that are causing the haze in the region, Indonesian President Joko Widodo told the BBC in an interview on Tuesday (Sep 29).
Mr Widodo said Indonesia had “gone to great lengths” to tackle the haze, “including sending 3,700 soldiers, nearly 8,000 police officers and four water-bombing planes to put out the fires”.
The President also told the BBC that authorities are building water reserves in the forest and canals to get water to the hotspots, while also “making progress to enforce laws against forest-burning”.
“You will see results soon and in three years we will have solved this,” he said, adding that Indonesians were also victims of the haze.
Smog-belching blazes, an annual problem in South-East Asia, have intensified in Sumatra and the Indonesian part of Borneo island in the past three weeks, sending a cloud of acrid smog across the region.
The illegal fires are set to clear vast tracts of land to make way for palm oil and pulp and paper plantations, and Indonesia has failed to halt the practice despite years of pressure from its neighbours.