S'porean helps fight Indonesian fires with 'solution'
Singaporean helps battle forest fires with local firemen in Indonesia using product he invented
Many Singaporeans have taken to donning masks or staying indoors as the Pollutant Standards Index climbs to unhealthy levels.
But not Mr Judah Jay, 60.
Instead, he headed straight for the forest fires in Jambi, a province in Sumatra, to help firefighters put out the blaze that has been causing the haze.
The Singaporean owner of a company that manufacturers eco-friendly fire extinguishers also donated about 1,000 litres of a special fire-fighting solution to the Indonesian firefighters.
When asked why he chose to help Indonesia fight the fires for free, Mr Jay said he felt a sense of responsibility.
"It's like I am a doctor and I see someone getting hit by a car. I won't ask if he can pay me, I would help him immediately.
"In the same way, I have all this knowledge and resources, and it is my duty to help people who need it."
The managing director of Fire Terminator International (FTI) and his team arrived in Indonesia three months ago to market a product called JN1010, a fire-fighting solution that not only extinguishes blazes, but also rapidly cools surfaces, removes oxygen, and stops combustible gases from igniting so that the fire does not start again.
Plans to meet potential clients were cut short two months in, after Mr Jay realised the severity of the haze and forest fires. He then shifted his focus to helping the Indonesians deal with the fires, instead.
He said: "I knew that this was beyond earning money. People there needed help, and I had the means to help them."
For four weeks, he donned fire-fighting gear and battled the fires shoulder-to-shoulder with others in Jambi, working day and night to extinguish the blaze.
Recounting his time there, Mr Jay said: "The heat from the fires was intense. Visibility was so bad that I could not see who was beside me. It was terrible."
Although he shipped 1,000 litres of JN1010 for the fire fighting efforts, it took less than a month to use it up.
"Even though the firefighters were so busy and tired, they gave their all and kept on fighting, so I gave them what I could too," Mr Jay said.
His efforts caught the attention of Indonesian media, with TV network TVRI interviewing Mr Jay and showing him putting out fires during a news clip.
He returned to Singapore about a week ago to attend the Fire and Disaster Asia 2015 exhibition, which was held at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre.
When The New Paper spoke to Mr Jay at the exhibition last Thursday, he said that he was raring to return to Indonesia to help again.
"We only brought 10 per cent of our supply that time. When I go back in three or four days, I am prepared to bring the remaining 9,000 litres to help fight the fires," he said.
Mr Jay added that he would be heading to Kalimantan, in Borneo, this time, and would stay there for as long as he could.
His wife, Mrs Davina Jay, who is the director for FTI, will stay in Singapore to look after the business while her husband is in Indonesia.
She said: "I have confidence that he will exercise due caution there.
"He has been blessed with wisdom and know-how to help minimise human suffering. It must be shared for a good cause".
10 firms declare no links to those causing fires in Indonesia
Ten companies which manufacture paper products sold in Singapore have pledged that they do not use raw materials from the five Indonesian firms believed to be responsible for the ongoing forest fires.
A joint press release by the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) and the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) yesterday said that all 10 firms, which are certified under the Singapore Green Labelling Scheme (SGLS), have signed declarations forms.
SEC and Case also revealed that they were awaiting declaration forms from seven other third-party manufacturers.
The list of all the companies which have signed will be updated regularly on both agencies' websites.
SEC is also encouraging other paper companies which have not participated in the SGLS to contact it for certification.
However, certified firms which are found purchasing wood, paper or pulp products from companies suspected to be involved in the haze pollution are bound by the declaration to inform SEC. They will then be removed from the list.
Meanwhile, Case has issued a reminder urging consumers not to support companies using such products unless they have pledged to be socially responsible.
"This will send a strong signal to the errant companies that consumers' goodwill should not be taken for granted and consumers will not support companies which are environmentally irresponsible and/or have contributed to the environmental disaster year after year," it added.
Last month, Singapore started legal action against five companies which it believes are among the culprits behind Indonesia's pollution-causing fires. Four are Indonesian companies which have been told to take measures to extinguish fires on their land, not to start new ones and submit action plans on how they will prevent future fires.
The fifth one is Singapore-listed firm Asia Pulp and Paper. It has been served a legal notice to supply information on its subsidiaries in Singapore and Indonesia, as well as measures taken by its suppliers in Indonesia to put out fires on their concessions. - The Straits Times.