Haze from Indonesian fires may have killed more than 100,000 people – study

A smog outbreak in Southeast Asia last year may have caused over 100,000 premature deaths, according to a new study released Monday that triggered calls for action to tackle the “killer haze”.

Researchers from Harvard and Columbia universities in the US estimated there were more than 90,000 early deaths in Indonesia in areas closest to haze-belching fires, and several thousand more in neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia.

The new estimate, reached using a complex analytical model, is far higher than the previous official death toll given by authorities of just 19 deaths in Indonesia.

Opposition grows against Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway

Opposition against the development of the country’s first high-speed railway is growing among members of the House of Representatives, who are calling on the government to halt it amid concerns over the state budget and irregularities.

House Deputy Speaker Fahri Hamzah demanded that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo stop the project, citing various disadvantages of the rail connecting Jakarta and Bandung, West Java, which will be developed by Indonesia-China consortium PT Kereta Cepat Indonesia China (KCIC).

Garbage banks, app help solve waste problem

Garbage banks and smartphone applications are being used to overcome garbage problems in Klaten regency in Central Java and Pontianak, West Kalimantan.

Residents of Palar subdistrict in Klaten have for the last two months been sorting their domestic waste and grouping it according to type in preparation for the establishment of garbage banks.

“Garbage banks give us a solution and are also profitable for the community,” Palar subdistrict garbage bank chairman Marino said.

Seaport Infrastructure Indonesia: Patimban to Replace Cilamaya?

Indonesia's Ministry of Transportation has completed a feasibility study for the development of the Patimban seaport in West Java. Although there are no official statements made by the Indonesian government, it is expected that the Patimban seaport is the most suitable candidate to replace the Cilamaya port project in Karawang (West Java). This project was cancelled in April 2015 as the location was too closely located to an oil and gas block operated by Pertamina Hulu Energi Offshore North West Java, a unit of state-owned energy company Pertamina.

Smoke haze at 'unsafe levels' in 4 southern provinces

The levels of particulate matter from Indonesia's forest fires in the southern provinces of Songkhla, Satun, Yala and Pattani have soared above safety levels, environmental authorities said on Wednesday.

Residents in all areas were advised to continually monitor the haze situation and wear face masks outside the home at all times.

The particulate matter (PM10) reading in the four provinces was measured on a rolling 24-hour average until 6pm, the Pollution Control Department said.

Phase One of Jakarta's Giant Sea Wall Project on Track

Jakarta. Construction of the first stage of Jakarta's Giant Sea Wall project is on track to be completed by 2017, a representative of the Jakarta Development Planning Agency has said.

The construction, included in the National Capital Integrated Coastal Development (NCICD) project, takes place over three phases with phase A currently underway.

Phase A focuses on straightening the wall, slowing down the lowering of ground level, accelerating water sanitation and improving drainage pumps.

Haze crisis in the South improving

The director of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, Chatchai Promlert, said the amount of particulate matter (PM) of the air in southern Thailand had decreased to a range of 58-87 micrograms per cubic metre of air.

Chatchai said the main reason for this might be rains and a northeast wind change.

The Pollution Control Department's PM statistics on Sunday showed that the amount of PM10 had fallen in many provinces.