Over the preceding days, Jakarta has grappled with increasingly severe air pollution, leading to a notable deterioration in the city's air quality. According to the Air Quality Index (AQI), a numerical gauge used to signify present or anticipated levels of air pollution, Jakarta's air quality has crossed into the "unhealthy" range. In fact, it briefly held the second-highest position globally with an AQI reading of 178. World Health Organization (WHO) stipulates that in a given area, Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 should not exceed five µg/m³ on average annually. However, currently in Jakarta, PM 2.5 reaches 45.3 µg/m³ as of August 15, 2023, 9 times higher than the WHO limit. As acknowledged by the BMKG (Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency), the recent rise in air pollution is attributed to the current dry season. Interim Deputy for Climatology, Dodo Gunawan, clarified that during the dry season, air pollution could increase due to limited rainfall and pollutants that aren't washed away, thus remaining in the air. Other than that, The Environment and Forestry Minister, Siti Nurbaya, explained that the ongoing long dry season, high pollution levels, and emissions from transportation and factories are all adding up to the current situation. Additionally, She also mentioned that the polluted air is caused by vehicles. She found that in 2022, there were a whopping 24.5 million vehicles, with 19.2 million being motorcycles.
The alarming levels of air pollution in Jakarta have compelled the government to develop short-term solutions to the problem. President Joko Widodo has directed his staff and regional leaders in Jabodetabek to take a number of actions to enhance air quality. The work-from-home system, which was previously implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, may be implemented soon in the labour sector. This is confirmed by the statement of the Minister for Administrative Reform and Bureaucratic Reform, Abdullah Azwar Anas, who stated that his party was undertaking research for the State Civil Apparatus (ASN) on the work-from-home (WFH) topic. It was also mentioned that there would be guidelines in place to distinguish between tasks that are permissible and those that are not from home. The Acting Governor of DKI Jakarta, Heru Budi Hartono, also imparted three WFH system considerations, which included the level of urgency, the impacts on community services, and the system's effectiveness. During his limited meeting at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Monday (08/14), President Joko Widodo also directed weather engineering to attract rainfall in the Jabodetabek area and implemented regulations to accelerate the enforcement of Euro 5 and Euro 6 emission limits, particularly in the Jabodetabek Region. At last, the president spoke out about the importance of strengthening mitigations and adaptations towards climate change. Some of the mentioned mitigations were the supervision of the industrial sector and power plant, along with educating the greater public.
In acknowledging the exigency of the matter at hand, Indonesia's Minister of State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN), Erick Thohir, underscores the significant impact of vehicles, factories, and power plants on Jakarta's pollution levels. Nevertheless, it is crucial to acknowledge that coal-fired steam power plants (PLTU) remain the backbone of Indonesia's energy supply. However, an effective solution lies in adopting alternative fuels to curtail pollution. These alternative fuels, renowned for their environmental sustainability, present a more conscientious alternative to conventional fossil fuels. Erick's commitment to environmental preservation is evident in his vigorous support for BUMN's proactive involvement in expediting industrialisation within the food sector. This encompasses harnessing sugar derivatives as biofuels, a promising avenue for progress. He highlights that the utilization of sugarcane-derived ethanol presents a substantial opportunity for the substantial mitigation of vehicular emissions, representing a crucial advancement in addressing air pollution. Furthermore, the Indonesian government strives towards a cleaner future by advocating the transition from conventionally-fueled vehicles to electric power. This initiative aligns with the global drive toward more eco-friendly transportation. Erick champions the integration of electric vehicles (EVs) and biofuels, asserting that these measures can play a crucial role in facilitating air quality and reducing air pollution across Indonesia. Through strategic policies and sustainable practices, Erick aims to pave the way for a greener and healthier nation.
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