Vast swathes of Brunei forest were consumed by fire these past few days. The raging dry season which has been going on for over a month now as well as global warming were probably the twin causes that led to this problem.
In a Borneo Bulletin report, troops from the Brunei Armed Forces were dispatched to combat the problem. Orders were issued to send in two 7Flight Army Air Corps (AAC) Bell 212 helicopters, one fully equipped water bombs to extinguish the raging fire and the other one to provide aerial renaissance.
In one of Borneo Bulletin’s instagram photos, courtesy of the British Defense Advisor Colonel Mike Page, a strip of forest the size larger than “fifty football fields combined” were burnt out. One can only imagine the scale of destruction on the ecosystem and the animals that inhibited the forest.
A rare Clouded Leopard managed to escape the forest, which was then captured and rescued by the Firefighters (pic courtesy of 1StopWildlife). How many of the Clouded Leopard family and cubs have to be consumed by the fire, many are uncertain. But their (former) existence is. Animals do not just regenerate suddenly without reproduction or without family.
In a picture posted by Rajudin Hj Karia and Tukang Berkurapak, forests near the village of “Kampong Katok A and B” village were seen to be lit up in flames. Firefighters were dispatched to deal with the problem.
The RBPF is also heavily involved in traffic control throughout the area to maintain peace and order.
One of the probable reason for wildfire outbreaks can be attributed to global warming. There has been many nation-wide initiatives to reduce the nation’s contribution towards the problem.
However, according to a Brunei Times article, Brunei has the highest per capita carbon emission – a definite contributor of global warming – in ASEAN. It produces 15.5 metric tonnes of carbon emission or over twice the amount produced by Malaysia (7.1%) and Singapore (6.39%).
The Brunei Times reporter added a study stating “that Brunei produces an estimated 1.8 megatonnes (1 800 000 000 Kilogram) of carbon dioxide every year, with much of the emissions generated from activities that do not bring about direct benefits to the economy.”
With over 1 800 000 000 Kilogram of carbon dioxide (poison) being emitted into the air, this has pressured many of the local decision makers to reduce “activities that do not bring about direct benefits to the economy”.
One example is the over-usage of Motor Vehicles for transportation. Bruneians are “too rich” and “too passionate” on cars that every household is said to have “six cars” each, which is somewhat true to a certain extent once one counts the cars parked under his or house.
Using the cost-benefit analysis, some people deduced that having an MRT/LRT is a better alternative to motor vehicle usage and is considered a positive solution too. Many of the public were hopeful that the government, with its billion dollars worth of Oil revenue, would have the foresight to produce it.
However, the Legislative Council has just struck out the idea saying that there will be no LRT/MRT projects to be made, despite the BSB Masterplan Youtube Video stating otherwise. But then even the BSB masterplan team has apologized for not being able to implement the project stating that it is the government’s which will have the final decision to do so.
Even if the project is accepted, there were many people who questioned whether the LRT/MRT project was actually strategically viable and useful.
However, the wildfire destruction of forests, along with the animals and ecosystem, caused by none other than carbon emission emitted by “activities that do not bring about direct benefits to the economy” such as the over usage of cars, has led to the growing interest by some people for the decision makers to consider and to implement the MRT/LRT solution.
Will there be action or inaction? Will the decision makers have the foresight to see that the next generation’s destiny is in their hands? Or will it already be too late?