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491 Years Old Jakarta: An Age for Environmental Health

A worker finishes the revitalization of a watered area in Kota Tua, West Jakarta, Tuesday, Jan. 30. (JP/Seto Wardhana.)

 

As with every birthday I wish to plead good health, and every June 22 I also silently pray for Jakarta to get healthier. Relatively young by celebrated age, modern Jakarta has been suffering various symptoms of a sick body and the problem becomes more critical by each passing year. Unfortunately, the very environmental component of Jakarta is bad enough — and it costs us our health.

The air quality, much complained about, is surpassing the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guideline for majority of the year with only 25 to 26 of the days throughout 2017 in good quality for everyone, according to the United States Embassy. Since breathing is 24/7, the potential for disease from air pollution is the highest. Earlier last year, medical journal The Lancet Commission had a report on pollution and human health that predicted that 72 percent of premature deaths worldwide are associated with air pollution.

The water is in no better shape — Ciliwung, Jakarta’s biggest river is famous as one of the most polluted rivers globally, for year after year it has not moved from the heavily polluted quality classification, as reported by the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) in 2017. In the sea, toxic soil of Jakarta Bay, a cocktail sediment of various heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants, is now being abruptly stirred up by the infamous reclamation project, bringing in more waste and plastics to the bay.

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Jakarta Bay Pollution a Threat to Future`s Generation

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Pollution of the Jakarta Bay has caused great concern for people aware of the extent of damage it could cause to the public health especially of the future`s generation.

More hazardous is pollution by plastic garbage, which is not easily degraded or decomposed. It would take tens even hundreds of years for plastic to be decomposed as against only days for banana peels, an expert has said.

Comprehensive planning, therefore, is necessary to clean the Jakarta Bay especially from plastic garbage to protect the ecology from disaster in the future .

Former Minister of Environment Emil Salim addressing expert discussion at the Jakarta Convention Hall earlier this month called for serious commitment to bringing to reality a vision that in 2030 the sea water in the Jakarta Bay could be used as a source for fresh water fit for human and industrial consumption.

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