After being secured by the police, finally five Greenpeace volunteers who climbed and unfurled banners at the Dirgantara Statue or Pancoran Statue, South Jakarta, Wednesday (10/23/2019) were released. Previously they were secured at Menteng Police Station, South Jakarta, and processed by the local Satpol PP.

Greenpeace Forest Campaigner Arie Rompas, as quoted by Antara, explained that the five volunteers were discharged at 15:00 WIB, since they were secured at 09.00 WIB. A similar fate was felt by five other volunteers who climbed the Welcome Statue at the HI Roundabout. Processed longer at the Central Jakarta Metro Police Station, they were finally discharged around 21:00 WIB.

Why can volunteers who are safeguarded at the police station in South Jakarta get home faster? That is the question of many parties.

On the other hand, related to Greenpeace Indonesia, this legendary non-governmental organization (NGO) has a bad story in the past. Stories related to forest and land fire campaigns , and their collaboration with related industry conglomerates.

Specifically Greenpeace, another environmentalist group called Greenomics Indonesia once asked Greenpeace to provide an explanation to the public, especially about the NGO’s collaboration with the Sinar Mas Group in 2015. At that time, the conglomerate also experienced land fires in its concession. It could be called, 2015 is the year where the biggest forest fires occurred in Indonesia.

At that time Greenomics claimed that Greenpeace and the Sinar Mas Group, in this case Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), proved to have failed in implementing the “Forest Conservation Policy”. The concessions of industrial plantations (HTI) and palm oil belonging to the Sinar Mas Group in Sumatra and Kalimantan were claimed by Greenomics in connection with 2015 forest and land fires.

“Greenpeace needs to share experiences with the public, why its collaboration with the Sinar Mas Group did not succeed in preventing and controlling forest and land fires in 2015,” Greenomics Indonesia’s Executive Director Vanda Mutia Dewi said in Jakarta on Wednesday (09/25/2019).

Regarding forest and land fire this year, Vanda said, from data exposed as of September 20, 2019, the Gakkum Ministry of Environment and Forestry had sealed at least 52 corporate concessions, including APP, APRIL, as well as Malaysian giant companies.

This is why many environmentalists and ordinary Indonesian people have questioned the “heroic actions” of Greenpeace Indonesia activists recently: is it true that voicing public unrest and suffering or is there another agenda that accompanies it?

Other Allegations

Another firmer voice came from the World Wild Fund (WWF). Without further ado, WWF Indonesia’s Policy and Advocacy Director, Aditya Bayunanda, said that the causes of forest and land fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan were land barons, especially those related to oil palm plantations. The barons, he said, funded residents to clear land by burning.

“I still see it, many of which are cukong alias broker models. It can also be a company context. I see, the pattern now is that the broker is financing community members to clear the land,”Aditya said during a WWF Indonesia media briefing entitled “Indonesia’s Land Fire Emergency and Efforts to Save Remaining Forests” in the TB Simatupang area, South Jakara, Tuesday (9/17/2019).

Aditya said, according to the monitoring of the NGO he was leading, hotspots in Sumatra appeared in production forest areas whose status was concessionary or outside the concession. At most, there are hotspots in other use areas (APL) or non-forest areas and conservation areas.

Data from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry is even more sinister. Forest and land fires in Indonesia, until September 2019, reached 857,756 hectares, consisting of 630,451 hectares of mineral land and 227,304 hectares of peatland. This figure increased by 160% compared to last August’s area of around 328,724 hectares. Ministry of Environment and Forestry data also shows that forest and land fires occur not only in lands related to oil palm, but also HTI and natural forests.

Raffles B. Pandjaitan, Act Director of Forest and Land Fire Control of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, said that this figure was obtained from Landsat satellite imagery. The total area consists of 66,000 hectares in HTI, 18,465 hectares of natural forest, 7,545 hectares of ecosystem restoration (RE), and 7,312 hectares in the area of forest release.

Most in the area issued by the Ministry of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning (ATR/BPN) that has been certified, covering 110,476 hectares. “This increased burning area is still El-Nino. There is a movement of heat flow from Australia to Indonesia. In addition, residents were still found clearing land by burning,” he said.

Ministry of Environment and Forestry, he said, had also carried out legal proceedings against 79 companies holding concessions and one individual, both sealing and lawsuits. Based on the type of company, it consists of 24 foreign companies and 52 domestic companies. “The Director General of Law Enforcement is in the stage of investigation and investigation,” he said.

A total of 79 companies consist of 59 oil palm plantations, one sugar cane plantation, 15 HTI, three forest tenure rights (HPH), and one ecosystem restoration. The area burned in the total concession area was 27,192,271 hectares and the individual land was 274 hectares.

Based on regional distribution, the 70 companies are scattered in several regions. In West Kalimantan there are 33 concessions, Central Kalimantan (11), South Kalimantan (2), East Kalimantan (2), North Kalimantan (2), Riau (10), Jambi (7), and South Sumatra (12).

Completing the Ministry of Environment and Forestry data, data from the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) show that the total area of forest and land burned across Indonesia during January to August 2019 reached 328,724 hectares. One of the largest forest fires is located in Riau Province. “The largest area of burned land is in Riau Province, reaching 49,266 hectares,” said Head of the BNPB Information and Public Relations Center, Agus Wibowo, in Jakarta, Friday (09/20/2019).

Forest and land fires that occurred in Central Kalimantan covered an area of 44,769 hectares, followed by West Kalimantan with 25,900 hectares and South Kalimantan with an area of 19,490 hectares. In South Sumatra, the number of burned areas reached 11,826 hectares, while in Jambi it was 11,022 hectares.