Indonesia in Focus
Air Pollution: Jakarta, West Java
First-time visitors to the big smoke of Jakarta tend to notice one thing – the lack of fresh, clean air. Although now, the Jakarta Administration is making steps towards improving this situation, I cannot see a clean and green Jakarta in the future for a long time. Jakarta is a fabulous city and one that is steeped in Indonesian history. I was reading a letter yesterday sent to the Jakarta Post written by one of its residents who’s not happy with the polluted atmosphere there.
The bajaj in front of Block M, South Jakarta, rattle as clouds of emission diffuse, covering the entrance of Melawai Plaza with toxic fumes. Passersby wanting to cross the street cough and wheeze, covering their faces with anything they can find, a handkerchief, the collar of their T-shirt or their hand.
Air pollution is one of the rising concerns in the streets of Jakarta today. The citizens of Indonesia are not aware of the terrible outcomes that air pollution can bring to them. A Jakarta International School (JIS) student said, “I can’t walk in the streets of Jakarta like in my hometown,” which accentuates the effect that air pollution has on foreigners.
The main causes of air pollution are vehicles such as bajaj, decrepit Metro-minis, buses and cars which increase in number by 5 percent every month. In addition to this, factories release clouds of smog in the air and people burn piles of trash.
Deforestation is the final, biggest cause of air pollution in Indonesia. Indonesia needs more than 30 percent of green area to endure the pollution but the environmentalists say the percentage of greenery is only about 13.9 percent, because of pollution.
From 1995, the number of cars in Indonesia doubled, which has greatly worsened air pollution. Neither the government nor the citizens are trying hard enough to curb these sources and reduce air pollution.
Consequences of air pollution are numerous. The third most polluted country in the world, Indonesia is at its most polluted state right now. According to the WHO, three million people in the world die every year due to air pollution.
Also, local Indonesians living in kampungs are exposed to pollution that causes health problems such as respiratory diseases, asthma, cardiovascular disease and ultimately lung cancer.
One of the simple ways to help resolve this unpleasant problem is to recycle and reuse paper. This step relates to saving trees which are key contributors to clean air. Walking, cycling and using public transportation, whenever possible, are other small things everyone can do that can make a big difference.
MOTOYOSHI DAVID KOZAKI
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