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Jakarta Post

Indonesia denies reports on Jakarta's air pollution during Asian Games

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, August 19, 2018   /   01:37 pm
Indonesia denies reports on Jakarta's air pollution during Asian Games Fireworks at the 2018 Asian Games opening ceremony in Gelora Bung Karno main stadium, Jakarta, Saturday, Aug. 18. (The Jakarta Post/Wendra Ajistyatama)

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has denied reports in foreign media outlets highlighting concerns over Jakarta’s bad air quality during the 2018 Asian Games.

Foreign outlet Aljazeera raised concerns about Jakarta’s air quality in an article published on Aug. 17 saying that the air pollution index showed an “unhealthy” level of 154 micrograms of harmful particles per cubic meter in Jakarta just three days before the start of the Games. The bad air quality was feared to impact athletes’ performance given that they take in about 20 times more air than a person at rest.

Aljazeera is one of the many foreign outlets that raised the concern. Other outlets such as Channel News Asia, Sydney Morning Herald and Iran’s Financial Tribune have also published articles on the issue.

However, BMKG head Dwikorita Karnawati denied the allegations based on research in recent years showing that Indonesia’s overall air quality has fared better in the past few years.

“The World Health Organization’s latest research on the most polluted cities in the world excluded Jakarta in its top 10 list,” she said on Saturday.

This year’s Climate Change Performance Index report put Indonesia as the world’s 14th biggest greenhouse gas emitter. The greenhouse gas emission measurement in the BMKG’s global atmosphere watch in Bukit Koto Tabang, West Sumatra also showed that Indonesia’s CO2 increase rate sat at 1.94 ppm since 2004, lower than the global increase rate of 2.08 ppm.

“We [Indonesia] have often been accused of being the biggest greenhouse gas emitter, as well as a country that has a severe level of air pollution, but research and on-site observation shows that our air quality is not as bad as people think,” Dwikorita added.

A review of the daily air quality index (AQI), which is observed by Greenpeace Indonesia, revealed that the test run of the car-restriction policy in Jakarta, beginning July 2, did not reduce the concentration of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5).

The concentration of PM 2.5 in Central Jakarta and South Jakarta on weekdays was above 50 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3), which is considered a moderate level. (ris/evi)