Air pollution has been one of the main concerns in Jakarta in recent years, but the capital was not Indonesia's most polluted city in 2019. That title, unfortunately, falls to Jakarta's satellite city South Tangerang, followed by Bekasi.
Global air quality information and tech company IQAir recently released a report on the most polluted cities in the world in 2019. While Indian cities dominated the global ranking, Indonesia's South Tangerang fared the worst among cities in the archipelago with an average PM 2.5 concentration measurement of 81.3 in 2019, indicating unhealthy levels of air pollution.
With that measurement, South Tangerang ranked 24th city with the worst air pollution in the world last year.
In Indonesia, Bekasi came in second behind South Tangerang with an average measurement of 62.6, followed by Pekanbaru with 52.8, Pontianak with 49.7, and Jakarta with 49.4. Like South Tangerang, Bekasi's measurement indicates unhealthy levels of air pollution, while measurements for the rest of the top five indicate unhealthy levels of air pollution for sensitive groups.
Of the 10 Indonesian cities/regencies measured in the report, Bali's Ubud, Badung, and Denpasar scored the lowest air pollution measurements with 27.9, 24.4, and 22.0, respectively. These measurements indicate "moderate" levels of air pollution. A healthy PM 2.5 measurement ranges from zero to 12.0.
PM 2.5 pollutants, which include sulfate and black carbon, measure less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter and are small enough to cause severe respiratory problems.
While Jakarta did not top this unenviable list, it must be noted that the capital has previously ranked as the world's most polluted city from time to time on real-time independent measurements. Last year, Jakarta residents sued the government over the toxic air pollution that regularly blankets the city, which they blamed on a cocktail of vehicle fumes, smoke and emissions from coal-fired power plants that ring greater Jakarta.