TACKLING JAKARTA’S POLLUTION PROBLEM: Stop Environment Polluting

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Patung HI
Illustration: LEONARDO A. PUTONG

Jakarta, IO – Indonesia is the fourth-largest country in the world, by population, with 270 million people, 17,500 islands and 34 provinces. Its capital city, Jakarta, is home to more than 11 million people. Jakarta is one of the biggest cities in the world, and the city itself contributes 17% to the nation’s economy, which is an astonishing number for just one city. However, an increase in population and energy consumption every year has exacerbated its carbon footprint. Uncontrolled greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions released into the atmosphere from human activity are very detrimental to the environment. 

The air quality in Jakarta was recorded as the worst in the world on Monday, June 20, 2022. Records refer to air quality index (AQI) data from the IQAir website; the air quality ranking data was collected at 7:11 AM Jakarta Monday and displayed on their website. Jakarta was ranked first, with an AQI record or air quality index at 192, quite unhealthy when viewed at 7:36 AM Jakarta. PM2.5 concentration in Jakarta was 137 µg/m3, 27 times the World Health Organization (WHO) annual air quality guideline value. This air quality data was collected by IQAir from 16 contributors, starting with government stations, namely, the Ministry of Forestry and the Environment (KLHK), Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency (BMKG) and the United States Embassy. In addition, there is data collected from stations of non-profit organizations, such as Greenpeace. PM2.5 can quickly enter the respiratory system and cause respiratory tract infections and lung disorders. In addition, PM2.5 can penetrate the circulatory network and be carried by the blood throughout the body, leading to cardiovascular disorders such as coronary heart disease. 

Based on DKI Jakarta Provincial Government’s JAKIspu application, several areas with unhealthy air quality were recorded on Monday, June 20, 2022. The air quality index in five regions of Jakarta was in the “Unhealthy” category with a number above 100. The data source taken by the DKI Provincial Government refers to data from the Environment Agency. The following was the JAKIspu version of the air quality index data: North Jakarta (135: Unhealthy), East Jakarta (129: Unhealthy), Central Jakarta (112: Unhealthy), South Jakarta (110: Unhealthy), and West Jakarta (103: Unhealthy). The Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) or air quality life index, based on a report from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), shows that residents in Jakarta are estimated to lose an average of 3 – 4 years of life expectancy from air pollution poisoning. 

The sources of Jakarta’s pollution are divided into four, namely, land transport (75%), power and heating generation (9%), industrial combustion (8%), and domestic combustion (8%). Jakarta receives most of its energy needs from coal-fired power plants, and although environmental issues are of the utmost concern, Indonesia focuses more on stability than the environment. The Indonesian Government wants to ensure that everyone has access to electricity at an affordable price before it even takes into consideration the environment. 

Coal, as of today, is heavily subsidized as the price of coal is capped at $90/ton even though the market value is well over $300/ton. For electricity generation, the cost of coal can go down as far as ¢6/kWh, which is the cheapest compared to any other form of base load energy. The following cheapest form of energy is gas at ¢12/kWh, renewables (with land acquisition and battery) at ¢12/kWh, and oil at ¢20/ kWh. Since Indonesia has a target to reach its Paris Agreement by 2030, which is to reduce GHG emissions by 29% by 2030 or 41% with International Assistance (IA), as stipulated in Law NO. 16/2016 and its Net Zero Emissions (NZE) by 2060, Indonesia should continue the acceleration of phasing out coal and utilizing gas as transition energy to renewables. 

Indonesia is rich in natural gas, and because the primary source of natural gas is located in islands and provinces outside of Java and DKI Jakarta, it can continue to raise its use of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). LNG is formed from the liquefaction of natural gas, transported by LNG cargoes, and sent to a regasification terminal so it can be turned back into natural gas to be distributed through pipelines. Currently, two LNG plants are on an upstream scheme, Bontang and Tangguh LNG. LNG from Bontang (East Kalimantan) and Tangguh (West Papua) needs to keep on being monetized and utilized in the Jakarta region through PT Nusantara Regas (NR), a regasification terminal in West Java. NR was established as a subsidiary of a state-owned enterprise (SOE/ BUMN), which is a joint venture between PT Pertamina (Persero) and PT Perusahaan Gas Negara (PGN) Tbk on April 14, 2010, as stated in the Notary Deed NO. 16 and ratified by the Minister of Law and Human Rights of the Republic of Indonesia in Decree NO. AHU-24233. AH.01.01 of 2010 dated April 14, 2010. By the company’s latest articles of association, which were ratified through a Notarial Deed NO. 16 dated April 16, 2010, the scope of the company’s business activities covers natural gas trading, which among others, is to procure Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) facilities: procurement of floating storage and regasification facilities, which include (but are not limited to) gas transportation facilities and transportation facilities related infrastructure. The company distributes gas to the power plant center broadly consisting of the FSRU, subsea transmission pipelines, and Onshore Receiving Facilities (ORF).