Editor’s Note: This article is contributed by Desiree Tay, a Year 2 NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine student and a first-time Project Sukacita participant. When I first received...
APRIL participated in Singapore’s first-ever public exhibition on haze as a sponsor and exhibitor. The exhibition: “Haze: Know it. Stop it.”, held at VivoCity, one of Singapore’s busiest metropolitan shopping malls, from 7 to 9 November 2014, is organised by the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA).
The interactive exhibition, launched by Senior Minister of State for Health, Dr. Amy Khor, provides the Singapore public with information explaining the cause of haze as well as initiatives in place to combat its effects.
“It is really a deep-rooted problem,” said Simon Tay, chairman of SIIA. “It is in the land, it is in the fires, it is in the industry habits. So we are trying to educate people where these products come from, why they link to fires and what they can do in their daily habits to change the patterns of demand.”
APRIL was one of the industry partners represented at the exhibition alongside Wilmar and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). APRIL’s exhibit focused on its fire prevention and suppression activities in Riau Province Indonesia.
APRIL’s sponsorship and participation in the exhibition underscores its commitment to partner with communities, governments and NGOs to develop lasting solutions to forest fires and haze.
APRIL’s fire management programmes
Since 1994, APRIL has been a pioneer in implementing sustainability practices in the pulp and paper industry in Indonesia and has adopted a no-burn practice. APRIL has in-place a rigorous fire detection, and early warning system to respond swiftly and effectively to potential fire risks.
In addition, APRIL has invested more than USD 6 million in fire management programmes to detect and respond to fires started near its forest concession areas. Employees, contractors and those living in the communities are also trained to enhance their fire awareness so that the efforts are well-rounded. APRIL has also initiated the small business development schemes that contribute to uplifting the overall social and economic standards in rural areas.
APRIL’s Chairman, Bey Soo Khiang said: “Like many others, APRIL suffers the adverse health and financial impact of forest fires and haze. Our approach – fire detection and response, prevention-based education and capability building, and localised economic development – forms a holistic strategy that is necessary to achieve lasting change on the ground.”
APRIL’s Sustainbility Director, Dr. Petrus Gunarso, fire prevention specialist Craig Tribolet, and fire-fighter Ian Wevell spent the weekend engaging with visitors at the exhibit and answering the public’s questions on APRIL’s efforts to combat the illegal fires that create the haze conditions that afflict Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.