Written by By Teodora Foderi, CNN
Part of the nation’s capital is in danger of being unlivable.
About a million tons of dangerous and carcinogenic particulate matter — called PM 2.5 — from various sources — such as construction dust, smoke-cooking fires and manufacturing wastes — currently fouls the air in Jakarta. As a result, outdoor activity is limited to non-sweltering months.
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Over the last several years, Indonesia’s Central Jakarta has seen some of the highest levels of PM 2.5 in the world, causing children to suffer from respiratory problems. In February, Indonesia’s air quality was classified as “hazardous” for the first time since 2012, according to UNEP.
In a meeting on July 23, President Joko Widodo told the Jakarta Straits Times he would issue an executive order to fix the issue.
“Nowadays, the issue of air pollution has worsened and gets on people’s minds,” Widodo said, according to the Straits Times. “And so we plan to address it.”
Find out what officials in Indonesia have to say about Jakarta’s pollution. Credit: KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Many users of Jakarta’s city buses drive with the engines running to keep the fumes out of the vehicle. The system has room for only three air-conditioned, non-electrified vehicles and a fleet of 4,500 vehicles for trips between suburbs.
A city bus is filled with exhaust on Nov. 17, 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Credit: BENDHARDO MUSA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
According to the Jakarta Straits Times, the Indonesian government is set to allocate 1.5 trillion rupiah ($126 million) to purchase air conditioning and air-conditioned buses. The city government has long complained about the lack of air conditioning, the International Business Times reports.
More regulation needed
The minister of public works, Budi Karya Sumadi, said a law will soon be passed that requires cars to be labeled with air-purifying properties.
Authorities have ordered a 6.5% cut in vehicle emissions since May. But the law did not include smog-creating emissions from wood and coal burning, said the Washington Post . The government only mentioned plans to crack down on those engines in the future.