Activists Urge Government to Improve Air Quality ahead of Asian Games

Several environmental activists from the Clean Air Movement have urged the government to pay attention to air quality in Jakarta ahead of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, South Sumatra given the high level of air pollution in the country.

Workers install a lamp on an Asian Games banner on the Semanggi overpass in South Jakarta, Oct. 26 . (JP/Seto Wardhana)


Committee for the Phasing Out of Leaded Fuel (KPBB) executive director Ahmad Safrudin said from 2011 to 2016 the air in the country had been exposed to pollutants such as particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), Sulfur Dioxide, Ozone, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Oxide and Lead.

The toxic air had been caused by the use of motor vehicles, forest and land fires, power plants and smelters, construction and waste processes, as well as household activities, Ahmad said on Monday.

‚ÄúThe health of international athletes competing in¬†Indonesia¬†in August 2018, could be threatened by the poor air quality¬† in¬†Jakarta¬†and¬†Palembang. They may fail to break records or get sick,‚ÄĚ he said in a statement.

Ahmad said last year 58.3 percent of Jakarta residents suffered sickness as a result of air pollution, leading to a total of Rp 51.2 trillion (US$3.8 billion) being spent on getting medical treatment.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to improve the air quality, the Jakarta administration has planned to set vehicle emissions tests as a requirement to renew vehicle registration certificates (STNK).

The Jakarta Environment Agency plans to procure seven sets of vehicle emissions test equipment next year to go ahead with the plan.

Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) researcher Sudaryatmo said the government should provide access for residents to monitor the air quality.

The regulations on ambient air and emissions standards should also be revised by considering the impact of pollution on people‚Äôs health. ‚ÄúThe standards of ambient air quality and emissions should be based on the latest health research, not on the interest of the industries,‚ÄĚ Sudaryatmo said.

Researcher from the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL), Margaretha Quina, said the government should engage the public in revising Environmental Minister Regulation No. 21/2008 on ambient air quality standards and Government Regulation No. 41/1999 on air pollution control.


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