Man-Made Rain Helps Lower Indonesia’s Hotspots by 90%: Ministry

(Bloomberg) -- Artificial rain created to deal with Indonesia’s massive wildfires has helped significantly lower the number of hotspots across the archipelago, authorities said.

The number was down to 136 on Saturday, compared with 1,374 last Monday, according to the country’s Environment and Forestry Ministry.

Since Friday, Indonesian agencies have scattered more than 200,000 kilograms of salt for cloud seeding and 317 million liters of water to put out the forest fires plaguing the country, the ministry said.

As many as 32 forest fire hotspots were still detected in the Kalimantan region, mostly in mining-rich East Kalimantan, while the number in Sumatra had dropped to 22, it added.

The blazes are largely caused by illegal slash-and-burn methods some Indonesian farmers use to clear farmland for cash crops, despite government efforts to stamp out the practice over the years.

The resulting haze from the fires has disrupted air travel, prompted the closing of schools, and also affected Indonesia’s neighboring countries, including Malaysia and Singapore.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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