Ichsan Ali, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on Wednesday threatened to impose sanctions against factories that do not install pollution control devices as Jakarta grapples with worsening air quality. The sanctions may even include a shutdown of the factory's operations.
"We will certainly impose sanctions, and I might even shut them down if they refuse to fix this and not install scrubbers because there is a huge price to pay and that is health," Jokowi said in Semarang on Wednesday.
A scrubber is an air pollution device that removes impurities from an industrial exhaust.
Aside from keeping an eye on the industries as well as coal-fired power plants, the government also relies on weather modification technology and work-from-home policies to reduce air pollution, according to Jokowi. They also have drivers undergo emission tests. As the name suggests, such tests gauge the pollutant level that a vehicle releases.Jokowi once again tried to nudge the people into switching from private vehicles to public transport. "All hands must be on deck... But we do acknowledge that things take time, including the adoption of electric vehicles," Jokowi said.
Jokowi has appointed Chief Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan to lead the anti-pollution operations in Jakarta. The operations will be in charge of tree planting, weather modification, and law enforcement against those proven to contribute to the deteriorating air pollution.
The Environment Ministry recently said it had imposed administrative sanctions against 11 polluting companies, some of whom were in the coal stockpile and metal smelting industries, among others.