PETALING JAYA: One of Malaysia’s biggest plantation companies reaffirms its zero-burning policy in its operations across Indonesia as haze from hotspots in Sumatra and Kalimantan blows into the country.
Sime Darby Plantation (SDP), which has operations in nine provinces in Kalimantan, Sumatra and Sulawesi and with a total oil palm-planted area of more than 202,000ha, said it did not practise burning to clear land at all.
“Our oil palm estates are mainly located in south, west and central Kalimantan; Riau and south Sumatra.
“Hotspots in our operations are being monitored constantly with the use of a satellite system.
‘In making our zero-burning initiative more transparent, SDP has launched its online Hotspot Dashboard in 2015 so that members of the public are aware of any hotspots and fire occurrences within our operations,” it said in an e-mail.
SDP was responding to queries on its commitment to zero-burning policy at its estates in Indonesia, where local authorities in the past blamed Malaysian companies for the open burning.
SDP said it had also extended its zero-burning policy to its neighbours and helped them monitor and put out fires in areas within a 5km radius of its estates’ boundaries.
“As part of this commitment, all our estates maintain their own firefighting teams who are fully equipped.
“Our operations also engage the neighbouring local communities to help them set up their own fire-prevention initiative, otherwise known as Masyarakat Peduli Api.
“We also establish co-operation with other companies within the vicinity of our operations to monitor hotspots,” it said.
It added that its Sustainable Community-based Fire Prevention Programme was implemented in partnership with local universities to educate local communities in fire-prone villages surrounding its operations.
“To date, it has covered 19 villages or about 40,000ha comprising areas surrounding our operations in Sumatra and south Kalimantan,” it said.
It maintained that SDP did not practise burning to clear land and had not done so for more than three decades.