Jakarta

Air pollution in city reaches
alarming level

Major pollutant: Black fumes come out of the exhaust pipe of a car that runs on diesel fuel during a free emissions test at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah culture and tourism park in East Jakarta. The city administration has yet to require all vehicles to undergo emissions tests. JP/P.J. Leo
Major pollutant: Black fumes come out of the exhaust pipe of a car that runs on diesel fuel during a free emissions test at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah culture and tourism park in East Jakarta. The city administration has yet to require all vehicles to undergo emissions tests. JP/P.J. Leo

Transportation experts have called on the city administration to require all vehicles to undergo emissions tests and to campaign for the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to cope with air pollution, which has reached an alarming level.

Andi Rahmah from the Community for Leaded Gasoline Eradication (KPBB) said the city already had the 2005 air pollution control bylaw and the 2007 gubernatorial regulation on emission tests, but that the current administration had yet to show its political will to control air pollution.

She said the two regulations had not been enforced mainly due to the lack of coordination among relevant authorities, especially the environmental agency, the transportation agency and the police.

“The governor should instruct the two agencies and the police to enforce the two regulations because polluting vehicles, mainly buses and trucks, are still operating in the city and they are the main polluters that have contributed the most to the alarming air pollution level,” she told The Jakarta Post recently.

She urged the city to persuade public bus and truck operators to use natural gas instead of premium or diesel fuel.

“The government should produce converter equipment and ask state-owned Pertamina to build more gas stations in the city,” she said, adding that public buses and trucks would prefer to use natural gas because it was cheaper than other fuels.

Tri Tjahyono of the University of Indonesia said the problem of gas conversion lay with the central government as it distributed the liquefied natural gas (LNG).

According to him the government should invest in the supporting infrastructure for public vehicles to use LNG as building the stations is expensive. “The city administration has made a good start by buying public buses like those for Transjakarta that use LNG although they lack filling stations,” he said.

He added that customers would not switch to LNG if gasoline and diesel were subsidized and cheaper.

Head of the Jakarta Environmental Management Agency (BPLHD) laboratory Joni Tagor concurred and said the city administration had yet to make an effort to reduce air pollution. “Transportation authorities, the police and the environment agency should meet to find common ground on the crucial air pollution issue,” he said.

The executive director of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) in Jakarta, Ubaidillah, said that the city administration should not suspend the idea of conducting emissions tests until the central government issued a special government regulation to implement the 2009 Environmental Law.

Data from the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) in 2012 showed that 60 percent of air quality degradation by Carbon Monoxide (CO) emissions came from vehicles.

According to a report by the KPBB in July 2012, air pollution in Jakarta was relatively high within certain parameters. Although admitting that the air quality in some areas was below the central government’s parameters, it said that pollution in the city exceeded the tolerable limits or standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

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