Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian government will once again conduct cloud-seeding to induce artificial rain in order to eliminate haze in Kalimantan and Sumatra, a minister said here on Monday.
"The number of hotspots has drastically decreased today but smoke still exists in the air. The smoke can be eliminated by rain fall and the wind," Forestry Minister Malam S. Ka`ban said.
He said that the government would therefore try to induce artificial rain in the coming five days and evaluate the results.
The minister made the remarks after attending a special meeting at the vice presidential office to discuss the haze problem in the country.
The meeting was chaired by Vice President Jusuf Kalla and attended by State Minister for Environment Rahmat Witoelar and the executive chairman of the National Disaster-handling Coordinating Agency Syamsul Ma`arif.
Ka`ban said that the haze in the past several days was the result of smoke accumulating from forest and bush fires in the previous days.
He said that there were about 6,000 hotspots in Indonesia in the past weeks but now it had dropped to 600 only. The decrease in the number of hotspots was thanks to the dropping of water bombs from helicopters.
"In Central Kalimantan for example, he said, the number of hotspots has been reduced from 1,710 in the past weeks to 200 only today," he added.
He said that his office was preparing Hercules aircraft and their equipment to be sent to Sumatra and Kalimantan to induce artifical rain to overcome the haze.
The minister said that the area worst hit by fires in Sumatra was located between Jambi and South Sumatra provinces, namely in Ogan Komerin Hilir district.
"We are also preparing 10 helicopters to drop water bombs whenever the number of hotspots increase again," the minister said.
Besides, the vice president has also instructed the police to arrest of fire culprits, the minister said.