The air quality in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, has reached alarming levels, causing health concerns for its residents.
The city has long grappled with air pollution, but recently, it has earned the dubious distinction of being ranked the most polluted city on global charts.
This dire situation has prompted health advisories, governmental actions, and the personal struggles of individuals affected by hazardous air conditions.
The story of Farah Nurfirman, a 22-year-old asthmatic resident of Jakarta, encapsulates the daily battles faced by many in the city.
Despite wearing masks and carrying inhalers, Farah’s asthma is exacerbated by the deteriorating air quality. She even uses an oximeter to monitor her oxygen levels, knowing that even a slight decrease can lead to breathing difficulties and chest pain.
Experts attribute the pollution spike to the dry season and vehicle emissions. In response, the government plans to conduct random emission tests on vehicles and encourage hybrid working arrangements.
President Joko Widodo has even suggested weather modification to induce artificial rain and alleviate pollution.
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Pollution Predicament and Struggles for Cleaner Air
However, the issue extends beyond vehicle emissions. Activists like Muhammad Aminullah argue that factories and coal-fired power plants are significant contributors to Jakarta’s toxic smog.
Despite Indonesia’s aspirations to reduce carbon emissions and phase out coal, the country remains the world’s largest exporter of thermal coal. Economic and political interests have hindered stricter regulations on these industries.
Individuals like Juan Emmanuel Dharmadjaya, who suffer from health issues aggravated by pollution, face difficult choices.
Juan, who has sinus problems due to the air quality, finds himself torn between his attachment to Indonesia and the threats posed by pollution.
He recalls that during his time in Europe, his health significantly improved, highlighting the stark contrast in air quality.
The challenges posed by Jakarta’s air pollution crisis underscore the urgent need for effective and comprehensive measures to combat pollution.
As the government grapples with finding a balance between economic interests and public health, individuals like Farah and Juan continue to navigate their lives in an environment where even the air they breathe is a cause for concern.
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