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Jakarta Air Quality Levels Vary Based on the Season

NEWS | 22 March 2019

Last year, Greenpeace Indonesia reported that Jakarta's air quality has reached unhealthy levels, which could affect its residents health. In 2019, with the city’s infrastructure projects nearing completion, the air quality has improved, if slightly, but emissions from vehicles continue to pollute the city.

Jakarta residents are used to wear mask in outdoor area to avoid city air pollution that could harm people. Photo courtesy of Greenpeace Indonesia/NOW!JAKARTA

Air Visual, a website which tracks the PM (particulate pollution) levels worldwide, notes that the air quality in Jakarta in March stood at moderate levels. During weekends, air quality levels are better thanks, in part, to programmes like the Car Free Day - and fewer vehicles operating in the city on those days. In addition, Jakarta tends to be less polluted during the current wet season.

A ‘moderate level’ rating is not safe for outdoor exercise or cycling in the open air. Residents also need to keep windows closed. This year, with the opening of the  Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), system, it is hoped that pollution levels may decrease.

Most days in 2018 saw high levels of pollution, according to the report, at 196 days. There were 34 days of clear air, with the remaining 112 days at moderate level. Last year, Greenpeace Indonesia reported that the air quality analysis using ozone parameter, OPM was 10  and PM  2.5, meaning that residents would need to wear a mask and use air purifying machines. The worst and most polluted days in Jakarta were in August as the country was host to the Asian Games and infrastructure projects were accelerated. In December last year, Semesta Coalition protested the government at Jakarta City Hall for “Gerakan Inisiatif Bersihkan Udara”  (Clean Air Initiative).

Today, Jakarta’s air pollution level or Air Quality Index (AQI) level is range between 60-100 on average. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has collaborated with the Jakarta city government to reduce air pollution as well as improve the air quality for residents. In the meantime, the government will impose vehicle fuel equal to EURO4 standard, an emission evaluation for private vehicles as well as regulation on the standard emissions in factories.

Reducing the pollution is urgent as data from World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that pollution kills 9 million people per year. The hazardous pollution could reduce life expectancy by an average of two years. In Indonesia, Jakarta and Bali are considered most polluted. In year-to-year data, most of cities in India, China, and Pakistan are the most polluted worldwide. One of the example, Gurugram in India, is the most polluted city with an average air quality level of 135 to 145 for most days of the year, according to IQ Airvisual data from 2017-2018