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Declaring Jakarta's air pollution as disaster is complicated, environmental office says

Tempo - September 16, 2023

Antara, Jakarta – The Jakarta Environmental Service (DLH) stated that it is not easy to determine the current condition of air pollution as an emergency or disaster response because it will intersect with the lives of various elements of society in the capital city.

It is impossible for Jakarta to declare emergency (or disaster) status. "Moreover, we just held the 2023 ASEAN Summit recently," said Head of Jakarta Environmental Service (DLH) Asep Kuswanto as reported by Antara, Friday, September 15.

He asserted that it is not easy to declare the status of air pollution in the capital as a disaster since it will affect the community's economic cycle.

Decisions are increasingly difficult to realize because the disaster status affects the activities of many parties in the government, as Jakarta is where various ministries/institutions, foreign embassies, and private offices are located and international scale events such as the 2023 ASEAN Summit are held.

"Declaring disaster status, especially in Jakarta, has an international impact," he said.

The Jakarta Provincial Government to this day continues to strive to accelerate improvements in air quality through a number of strategies that are considered effective. For example, controlling industries that are proven to cause air pollution and increasing the installation of water mist in government and private buildings.

This includes carrying out emissions tests and plans to increase disincentive parking rates at several parking locations.

However, Asep admitted that similar decisions had already been taken by the government, such as the West Java Provincial Government when the Sarimukti Landfill in Cipatat District, West Java caught fire in early September.

Previously, Jakarta DPRD member August Hamonangan asked the Jakarta Provincial Government to declare the status of air pollution in the capital city as a disaster.

At the DPRD Plenary Meeting in Jakarta on Wednesday, September 13, August assessed that cases of air pollution were still affecting Jakarta and had not shown any improvement. The capital city's air quality is the worst compared to other cities in the world.

"Thus, emergency conditions need to be determined in accordance with Law Number 24 of 2007 concerning Disaster Management," he said.

The law says that an event can be declared an emergency, because there is a series of events that threaten and disrupt people's lives and livelihoods which are caused, either by natural factors and/or non-natural factors, as well as human factors, resulting in human casualties, environmental damage, property loss, and psychological impacts.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1772621/declaring-jakartas-air-pollution-as-disaster-is-complicated-environmental-office-say