US to Help Capital Clean Up Its Act

The Jakarta Globe

US to Help Capital Clean Up Its Act

The United States’ Environmental Protection Agency met with key stakeholders in Jakarta on Monday in a bid to reduce the city’s suffocating air pollution.

Michelle DePass, an assistant administrator at the EPA, said the meeting provided valuable insights into pinpointing the root causes of Jakarta’s deteriorating air quality.

“This stakeholder meeting is a key opportunity for us to have a discussion,” she said. “But we realize that long-term cooperation [with stakeholders in Jakarta] is needed. We need to work very hard to be able to provide a long-term benefit.”

Last month, the Environment Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding with the EPA designed to strengthen environmental corporation between the United States and Indonesia, and to work on pollution reduction in Jakarta.

The so-called Breathe Easy Jakarta program aims to address the air pollution problem in Jakarta and establish cost-effective strategies for improving air quality and public health.

DePass said the EPA and the Jakarta government would cooperate in areas such as air quality monitoring, compiling emissions inventories, air quality modeling, health assessments and the development of air pollution control strategies. The partnership, she said, would involved capacity building, transfer of technology and some pilot programs.

Karliansyah, a deputy minister for pollution control at the Environment Ministry, said the meeting was hoped to establish a commitment among all stakeholders to work to improve Jakarta’s air quality. “It requires cooperation from all stakeholders to reduce air pollution in Jakarta,” he said. “We need to establish commitment and encourage coordination between the government and stakeholders.”

Karliansyah said that as part of Breathe Easy Jakarta, the government hoped to improve air quality management and work to develop an information system that to manage air pollution.

Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo said Greater Jakarta already had a supporting bylaw to implement the Breathe Easy Jakarta program.

“In this case, Jakarta is the only province in Indonesia that already has a regulation on reducing air pollution,” Fauzi said. “So, instead of establishing a regulation, we can just jump to action.”

Karliansyah said Jakarta needed to address the transportation sector, which contributes around 23 percent of the city’s air pollution.

“The increasing number of motorcycles has an impact not only on fuel consumption and heavy traffic but also air pollution,” he said.

Fauzi said that Jakarta was trying to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles by conducting regular emission tests. “This action can reduce air pollution significantly,” he said.

Karliansyah added some action had also been taken at the central government level such as discarding the use of a lead additive in gasoline in 2001 and developing better mass transportation such as the Transjakarta busway.

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