The court ruled that the Indonesian president was negligent about the environment

A Jakarta court ruled that President Joko Widodo and several officials “violated the law” and were negligent in protecting citizens from environmental pollution.

Chairman Saifuddin Zuhri of the Central District Court of Jakarta today said President Widodo and top officials had “violated the law”, and ordered them to tighten regulations and enforce environmental laws. .

The court ordered the officials to specifically prevent pollution caused by vehicles and coal-fired power plants around Jakarta, including sanctions for violations. The judges also ordered authorities to improve air monitoring systems and make pollution data public.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo during his visit to Singapore in 2019. Photo: Reuters.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo during his visit to Singapore in 2019. Photo: Reuters.

The ruling comes two years after a group of 32 pollution-affected citizens and activists filed a lawsuit, accusing Widodo, as well as the ministers of health, family, environment and Jakarta’s governor, of negligence. environmental status of the city.

The petitioners did not claim any compensation. Ayu Eza Tiara, the plaintiff’s lawyer, said that the defendants must accept “failure” and abide by the ruling.

President Widodo and officials have not yet commented on the court’s ruling.

The ruling is seen as a landmark victory for environmental campaigners in Indonesia, in the context of the air in Jakarta is severely polluted. The capital and its environs form a megacity of about 30 million people, frequently ranked among the world’s most polluted cities.

Experts have warned for years about the threat smog in Jakarta poses to people’s health, especially children.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), outdoor air pollution causes an estimated 4.2 million premature deaths around the world, with the greatest impact on poor and middle-income countries such as Indonesia. Indonesian activists say standards have improved in recent years, but not enough, and warn smog could make Covid-19 worse, in addition to exacerbating asthma and other diseases. other breathing problems.

The Indonesian capital is also one of the fastest sinking cities in the world because of excessive exploitation of groundwater. The government in 2019 announced a plan to move the administrative capital to a new location on the island of Borneo to relieve pressure on Jakarta.

Huyen Le (Follow AFP)

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