Aug 28, 2023
Motorists in Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, will have to get random emissions tests for their cars. The government announced it this month. It is the first in a possible series of steps to improve air quality. Jakarta is one of the world’s most polluted cities.
The Jakarta government said it will also make drivers get emissions tests before buying cars. It may likewise order people to carpool and purchase higher quality fuel. The government is also forcing some staffers to work from home. The city's leaders may expand the practice of cloud seeding too. That means shooting salt flares into the air to trigger rainfall. In turn, this lowers air pollution.
During a recent cabinet meeting, Indonesian President Joko Widodo blamed the city’s poor air on high road traffic. This is according to Reuters. He also blamed the country's long dry season. He said the overuse of coal is at-fault too.
At the meeting, Widodo had a month-long cough. An official blamed Jakarta’s bad air.
Leaders did not say how they will enforce the new laws. The city is already crowded with cars that cause high pollution. And maintenance standards often aren’t enforced. But leaders see the extent of the city’s problem.
In 2021, city residents sued the government. They claimed it was failing to deal with the poor air quality. They won the case. A court told the government to improve air pollution. Widodo ordered that national air quality standards be drafted. He told the country's health minister and local officials to create plans to fix the problem.
The government has an even more ambitious plan to deal with pollution and rising sea levels. It plans to move the capital to a new city being built deeper inland.
Photo from Reuters.
Reflect: What is the pollution like in your city? What are some ways that you think people and governments can work together to make the air cleaner in places with a lot of pollution?
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