Pulp giant ‘misinterprets’ peat canal blocking decree, constructs canal

19.12.2016

Forest clearance by an April subsidiary in Riau Photo: Mongabay Indonesia

Pulp and paper giant April has carved a three kilometre canal through carbon-rich peatlands in Sumatra in violation of Indonesian government regulations intended to curb greenhouse gas emissions and prevent another annual return of catastrophic forest fires.

President Joko Widodo instructed companies to begin blocking canals in peatlands in October 2015, to prevent them drying out and becoming combustible. April described its vast new canal as a “misunderstanding” of government regulations.

According to minutes published on the company’s website, cited by The Guardian, the company said it misinterpreted a government decree and “mistakenly concluded this canal was mandated by government regulations”.

This has promoted both Greenpeace and WWF to suspend their roles on April’s Sustainability Advisory Committee, intended to help guide the company towards better practices after years of rampant deforestation.

Andy Tait, a senior campaigner at Greenpeace, said: “[April] wanted to create the impression that canal construction was seen as part of these regulations, whereas the regulations actually refer to canal blocking,”

Click here to read the full story in The Guardian.

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