Moving to Clean Energy to Tackle Air Pollution in Jabodetabek

Jakarta, October 6, 2023 – Air pollution has been a significant issue faced by the residents of Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, and Banten (collectively known as Jabodetabek) for quite some time now. These unfavorable circumstances require urgent attention and action because environmental pollution in Jakarta can portray Indonesia’s development as harming the environment. Program Manager of Energy Transformation, Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), Deon Arinaldo, mentioned that air pollution impacts human health, causing respiratory diseases, reproductive disorders, cancer, and premature death. According to Deon, who cited data from Our World in Data, fossil energy, particularly coal, is the largest source of air pollution and can lead to premature death. This is indicated by the number of deaths per unit of electricity generated. These deaths include those caused by air pollution and the likelihood of accidents occurring in the supply chain.

“Oil, as well as coal, are not environmentally friendly energy sources. Biomass is a cleaner alternative but has negative impacts when burned, such as producing more particulate matter (PM). On the other hand, wind and solar energy have significantly lower chances of causing air pollution because they mostly rely on infrastructure development,” explained Deon at an Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) event entitled “Energy Hijrah Movement and Air Pollution Control Discourse” on Friday (6/ 10/2023).

Deon stated that the energy system in Indonesia is still dominated by fossil energy. It is crucial to begin the energy transformation process systematically and as soon as possible in all sectors. According to data from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM), Indonesia has a potential of approximately 3,686 GW for renewable energy. By utilizing the abundance of renewable energy, it can be used as the primary source of capital for the energy transition. However, we have yet to optimize this potential fully.

“In the national electricity plan (RUKN), coal-fired power plant capacity will peak in 2030 and decrease according to the planned operating period (natural retirement). Presidential Decree 112/2022 regulates a moratorium on new CFPPs, with exceptions for those already in the pipeline or related to PSN/downstream. Additionally, new CFPPs have a limited operating life until 2050.” said Deon.


Deon highlighted various strategies to mitigate air pollution generated by CFPPs. These strategies include implementing energy-efficient and energy-saving practices, halting the construction of CFPPs and replacing them with clean energy sources, speeding up the closure of existing CFPPs, and enforcing stricter standards for CFPP emissions. Additionally, installing air pollution control devices and monitoring the pollution levels would also help reduce air pollution.

Secretary of the Directorate General of Environmental Pollution and Damage Control (PPKL) KLHK, Tulus Laksono, said that a task force is currently performing strict supervision in various sectors, including industries, which are known to be a significant source of pollution. This task force’s primary responsibility is to identify pollution sources and conduct direct monitoring in the field, provide regional supervision, and ensure coordination. Tulus further added that currently, seven industries are under supervision, 34 are facing administrative sanctions, and eight are being subject to sanctions in Jakarta.


“A major cause of air pollution in Jabodetabek is motor vehicle exhaust, which accounts for 44% of the pollution, followed by coal-fired power plants (CFPPs) at 34%, and the remaining pollution comes from the industrial sector. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has opened an emissions testing service for motor vehicle owners since August 17, 2023, to address this issue. The emissions testing service aims to monitor and control exhaust emissions. On average, around 100-150 motorized vehicles undergo emissions tests at the KLHK office daily, but unfortunately, around 20% per day do not pass the emissions test,” explained Tulus.

Apart from that, Tulus explained, the task force also monitored open burning in 57 locations spread across Jakarta, Depok, South Tangerang, Tangerang Regency, as well as Bogor Regency and City. The activities include burning rubbish, gardens, cables, and charcoal. Prior to the action, monitoring was carried out through 15 air quality monitoring stations spread across the Jabodetabek area. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has urged several companies to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources to combat air pollution, as per Tulus. Companies like Pertamina Geothermal Energy and Star Energy will work on developing geothermal energy with a capacity of 5,553 GW. In comparison, PLN Nusantara will focus on wind energy with a capacity of 600 GW. Additionally, PT Bukit Asam and PLN Nusantara will work together towards a capacity of 4,930 GW.

“There are still several industries in Jakarta that use coal for their boilers, resulting in approximately 15,741 tons of coal burned each month. However, efforts are being made to encourage an energy transition towards cleaner sources. The DKI Transportation Agency has been working with these industries to promote this transition, and small businesses that still use firewood or coal will be urged to switch to cleaner energy alternatives,” explained Tulus.

Air Pollution: Economic Impacts and Steps Towards Clean Air

Direktur Eksekutif IESR, Fabby Tumiwa

Jakarta, October 5, 2023 – Air pollution is a major environmental challenge society faces today. With increased industrial activity, population growth, and human mobility, air pollutants have drastically increased, causing severe impacts on human health and ecosystems. The Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), Fabby Tumiwa, emphasized that air pollution is a significant issue that also has an economic impact. For instance, when someone falls sick and cannot work, they lose the opportunity to earn money. Similarly, when the same person has to visit the doctor, they lose a lot of money. 

“Air pollution significantly impacts the economy at a national level.  In Jakarta, we have tracked the days with clear blue skies over the past decade. However, there has yet to be a comprehensive study on the national level. The government must conduct such a study to determine the economic impact of air pollution, including the loss of productive days due to illnesses caused by exposure to pollutants. By taking proactive measures, we can work towards cleaner air and a healthier workforce, thereby ensuring a positive impact on our economy,” explained Fabby Tumiwa in a Special Stage program entitled Synergistic Efforts in Overcoming Air Pollution, which was broadcast on TV One on Thursday (5/10/2023).

Quoting data from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK), Fabby said three sources mainly cause air pollution in Jakarta. Vehicles account for 44%, Coal-fired power plants (CFPP) located around Jakarta account for 34%, and the remaining percentage comes from household burning and other activities. These sources produce different types of pollutants, with transportation being the largest source of PM2.5 and PM10. Agricultural activities and open burning also contribute significantly to PM. Furthermore, sulfur dioxide (SO2) is produced by 93% of power plants.

“Air pollution is a serious issue that needs to be tackled effectively. It is important to understand the different pollutants that contribute to air pollution. However, it is equally important to address the root cause of the problem, such as the smoke emitted from vehicle exhausts. This means that we need to reduce the amount of pollutants released into the air by reducing the use of fossil fuels. Encouraging people to use public and eco-friendly modes of transportation like bicycles can help achieve this goal. Besides that, the fuel quality also plays a crucial role in reducing air pollution. Fuel with higher quality emits fewer pollutants, which needs to be adopted as the standard. Unfortunately, Indonesia’s fuel quality is still below the EURO 4 standard,” said Fabby Tumiwa.

A researcher from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Indonesia (FK UI), Erlina Burhan, mentioned that there has been an increase in cases of acute respiratory infections or ISPA in the Jabodetabek area, which is believed to be caused by high levels of PM 2.5 pollutants. Erlina, who works at Persahabatan Hospital, has observed a growth of about 20% in the number of patients treated for ISPA, which could even increase by 30% during specific periods. Therefore, Erlina Burhan stresses the importance of clean air quality as it directly affects people’s lives.

“We have no control over the air we breathe. If the air contains pollutants, it can harm our health. Although our respiratory system has a natural filtration system to prevent harmful particles from entering our lungs, there are tiny particles that are too small to be filtered. These small particles can directly enter our respiratory tract and cause harm,” explained Erlina Burhan.

Erlina Burhan has appealed to people to take their health seriously, especially regarding air pollution. She suggests checking the air quality index before engaging in outdoor activities. If the index shows red, it is advisable to avoid outdoor activities. Erlina Burhan recommends a comprehensive approach to dealing with air pollution. This approach should not be limited to a single sector, such as transportation, conducting emission tests, or promoting the use of electric vehicles. Instead, it should involve concrete policies collaborating with all parties to overcome air pollution.

“Although many regulations have been implemented, their implementation seems lacking. For instance, smoking regulations have been in effect for a long time, yet individuals are still observed smoking in public areas. This highlights that monitoring and evaluation of regulations are not functioning effectively,” said Erlina Burhan.

Fairplanet | Inside Jakarta’s Polution Solution

Cindy Silviana, 35, takes the TransJakarta Bus from her home to her office on a daily basis. She has been doing so for the past 20 years to avoid the cumbersome traffic and progressively worsening air pollution in the city. She also used to go for a morning walk before heading to work, but now avoids doing so due to the poor air quality.

Read more on Fairplanet.

Koran Jakarta | Triggering Various Diseases, Air Pollution in Jakarta is Becoming More Concerning

Residents in the Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, and Bekasi (Jabodetabek) areas are urged to be vigilant about the dangers of pollution as it has the potential to cause various diseases. Jakarta itself has consistently been the most polluted city in the world recently due to the presence of coal-fired power plants and uncontrolled motor vehicle emissions.

Read more on Koran Jakarta.

Warta Ekonomi | Not Only Transportation, IESR: Wind Direction Highly Determines Air Pollution in Jakarta.

Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), Fabby Tumiwa, stated that the air pollution issue in the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta, is not solely caused by motor vehicles and waste incineration. An important factor proven to play a significant role in this regard is the prevailing wind direction in this metropolitan area.

Read more on Warta Ekonomi.