Indonesia District Court: The President and his apparatus are negligent with the air quality of the capital

The Indonesian District Court: The president and his apparatus are negligent with the air quality of the capital - Photo 1.

The atmosphere is like a layer of fog due to air pollution in Jakarta – Photo: BBC

In a landmark decision announced on September 16, the court ordered the placement of monitoring stations and other measures to improve air quality in Jakarta.

According to the BBC, the class action lawsuit was filed by 32 people living in Jakarta in 2019, after an air quality monitoring expert ranked Jakarta as the city with the worst air pollution in the world.

The ruling on air pollution has since been postponed eight times.

Air pollution in Jakarta due to heavy palm car traffic and unfiltered coal power plants. Traffic jam is also very bad. Ministers in Indonesia used to have to ask for police escorts to make their way through Jakarta’s traffic jams to get to meetings on time.

The lawsuit filed against President Widodo, the Ministry of Forestry and Environment, the governor of Jakarta and several other individuals. The plaintiff claimed that the city’s people’s health was adversely affected by air pollution.

The court’s decision required Mr. Widodo to improve the national air quality standards, the government to periodically check the emissions of old vehicles in Jakarta, and check outdoor air quality. Also required by the court, air quality indicators must be made available to the public.

In addition to air pollution and high population density, Jakarta is sinking at an alarming rate. The researchers say a large part of the city could be below sea level by 2050.

The area north of Jakarta has subsided by 2.5m in the past 10 years, continuing to sink at an average of 1-15cm per year. Almost half of the city is already below sea level.

One of the main causes of Jakarta’s subsidence is the exploitation of groundwater to meet the city’s increasing domestic water needs. Another reason is that Jakarta is built on lowlands (swamps) while the sea around the city is affected by sea level rise.

According to BBC, one of the major projects of the government is the plan to move the capital Jakarta to East Kalimantan on the island of Borneo, nearly 1,300km from the current capital.

On September 15, local media quoted Mr. Widodo as saying that officials would benefit from the fresh air and green environment in the new capital.

According to Mr. Widodo, some basic infrastructure in the new capital can come into operation by 2024, but it will take up to 20 years to complete the project to relocate the capital.

Jakarta has about 10 million people, is the largest city in Indonesia.

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