Jakarta third most polluted city – and its air quality is getting worse

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Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

Health hazard: Haze shrouding the Jakarta skyline recently. Image: Jakarta Post/The Star

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

Anyone who wants to live a healthy life may have to consider moving out of Jakarta, as the city continues to climb up the rankings for the world’s worst air quality.

Based on a real-time air quality index uploaded to the Airvisual application at a recent survey, Jakarta ranked third as the most polluted city in the world, after Beijing and Dhaka, among 70 cities measured across the globe.

In mid-August, the application showed that Jakarta was at the top of the list, followed by Ankara, Turkey, and Lahore in Pakistan.

Residents in the Indonesian capital may have experienced the worsening air quality due to hazy air and the sharp smell of exhaust fumes from vehicles.

Filani Olyvia, 25, a resident of Mampang Prapatan, in South Jakarta, said she was worried about her health because she rides an ojek (motorcycle taxi) to work every day.

Greenpeace Indonesia revealed that air pollution in Greater Jakarta, with its high exposure to a carcinogenic pollutant called PM2.5, was three times higher than the maximum “safe” level recommended by the World Health Organisation of 25 micrograms per cubic metre.

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According to research conducted by Greenpeace from January to June, the air in Greater Jakarta was considered “unhealthy” and hazardous for residents, especially children, pregnant women and the elderly.

Premature deaths rise
“In general, there has been a significant increase in premature deaths resulting from strokes, heart disease, respiratory infections (or what the local authorities call ISPA) in children, lung cancer and chronic lung diseases,” said Bondan Andriyanu, Greenpeace campaign spokesman for climate and energy.

Using the risk analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Project conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Greenpeace found that the great increase of people who suffered from pollution-related diseases occurred in areas highly exposed to the pollutant.

To protect themselves against emissions of PM2.5, residents have been advised by Greenpeace to wear N95 surgical masks, instead of regular disposable masks.

“We also urge the government to establish a proper, publicly accessible air quality monitoring system for residents,” he said.

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