Only two of Jakarta’s five air quality control stations are working, making it difficult for authorities to determine effective environmental policy in the capital, an official said on Monday.
“We only have five air quality control stations and three of them are out of order,” said Peni Susanti, the head of Jakarta’s Environmental Management Agency (BPLHD), adding that a new station was scheduled to be built this year near Hotel Indonesia in Central Jakarta.
“Air quality control is an important tool in making policies on environmental issues in the city,” she said, adding that the two stations still operating are in Central Jakarta and East Jakarta.
Peni said that Jakarta, a sprawling metropolis of around 12 million people, should have at least 25 air quality control stations, which could provide the necessary data for her agency and related authorities in implementing environmental policies such as car-free days, emissions tests for vehicles and tree planting in the city.
“We are planning to work with the Transportation Ministry and the Urban Regional Development Institute to evaluate Jakarta’s air quality,” she said.
According to BPLHD data from 2008, Jakarta residents enjoyed 104 days of healthy air through October, up from 73 days from the same period in 2007.
Officials said the city’s air quality was improving due to a number of environmental initiatives, including car-free days and compulsory emissions checks for private vehicles.
Car-free days are held every last Sunday of the month along the main thoroughfares of Jalan Sudirman and Jalan Thamrin.
In addition to this initiative, officials say they have launched efforts to evaluate the city’s air quality as well as introducing campaigns to educate residents about the importance of improving air quality in the city.
Based on air quality evaluations, during car-free days the concentration of primary pollutants coming from vehicles such as particle matter measuring 10 millimeters decreased by an average of 34 percent, while the amount of gases like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide declined by 67 percent and 80 percent, respectively.