From 2017 to 2018, average annual PM2.5 concentrations increased by more than 50%, from 29.7µg/m³ to 45.3µg/m³. As of August, the year 2019 is on track to meet or exceed the 2018 high.
Amid the worsening air quality, engaged local residents have united under the name Gerakan Inisiatif Bersihkan Udara Koalisi Semesta (Clean Air Coalition Initiative Movement). They have sued President Joko Widodo, the ministers for environment, health and home affairs, and the governors of Jakarta and the provinces of Banten and West Java, claiming they have breached citizens’ rights to a clean and healthy environment. The lawsuit, which was first brought forth in 2019 May, is expected to be appealed by the government until it reaches the Supreme Court, likely delaying a final verdict until late 2020.
Jakarta’s poor air quality is largely the result of rapid growth and development, coupled with seasonal agricultural burning practices, a reliance on coal-fired power plants and fuel-inefficient vehicles.
The Jakarta metropolitan area, which spans an area of 6,392 square kilometres, is home to more than 30 million residents, and growing. It is estimated that by the year 2030, Jakarta will become the world’s biggest megacity, with a population of 35.6 million. The city’s expansion is expected to heighten air quality concerns as construction projects produce dust, and a growing population adds to traffic congestion and energy consumption.
An analysis of seasonal air pollution trends, meanwhile, reveals the influence of annual agricultural burning practices on the city’s air quality.
The annual practice of “slash and burn” is commonly used in agricultural areas to clear land for cultivation. One consequence is far-reaching air pollution, sometimes sustained for weeks or months at a time, especially when fires become uncontrollable. Whilst ‘slash and burn’ is illegal, the government does not regularly and consistently enforce the laws - partially due to ambiguity in determining who is responsible for the fires.
Addressing data discrepancies between information reported by the Indonesian government and IQAir AirVisual Platform
IQAir AirVisual is a global air quality information platform operated by the IQAir Group, which aggregates and validates air quality data from governments, private individuals and non-governmental organizations, with the goal of providing global and hyper-local air quality information in order to advance steps to improve air quality all over the world.
Air quality measurements reported through the IQAir AirVisual platform include raw pollutant concentration values, and Air Quality Index values as calculated by both the US (default) and Chinese AQI formulas.
US vs. Indonesian Air Quality Index (AQI) formulas
The IQAir AirVisual platform emphasizes the US AQI, or displays this value more prominently in the platform’s user interface (UI), because the US AQI is globally well established and among the strictest air quality indexes. It is also closely aligned with the air quality guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO).
The US AQI differs from the Indonesian AQI (Indeks Standar Pencemar Udara) in its calculation. As a result, for the same reported pollutant concentration values the US AQI may report “unhealthy” conditions, while the Indonesian AQI reports “good” or acceptable conditions. One reason for this discrepancy is that whilst the US AQI is often dictated by PM2.5 data, this pollutant is not included in the Indonesian AQI.
Where does the Jakarta air quality data come from?
IQAir AirVisual currently reports air quality data from 37 ground level stations, most of which are Indonesian government stations that report data publicly. The other stations are AirVisual Pro, low- cost PM2.5 sensors and U.S. embassy stations. The breakdown of ground level stations is as follows:
Supplementary PM2.5 data for 382 locations, which lack ground level stations, is based on satellite information. In these cases, the modelized data is indicated in the app by the asterisk (ex: AQI 17*), and the text below "AQI modeled using satellite data".
How is PM2.5 data provided for locations that don’t measure this pollutant?
In Indonesia, not all ground-based monitoring stations measure PM2.5, though this pollutant tends to be the ‘dominant pollutant’ that determines the US AQI over 95% of the time. In order to provide a more accurate picture of overall air quality, for monitoring stations that only report PM10, AirVisual applies Artificial Intelligence to create PM2.5 estimations based on the PM10 measurements. The logic for this is generated from years of air quality data learning, to calculate the PM2.5 estimation.
In all instances across the AirVisual platform, PM2.5 data that is estimated, modelized or derived from PM10 readings are transparently and clearly labeled as such.
How is the Jakarta city air pollution data calculated?
The IQAir AirVisual platform reports the median average of the 8 ground level stations for which public data is available (2 x U.S. Department of State, 4 x AirVisual Pro, 1 x Indonesia Ministry of Environment and Forestry, 1 x Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Council).
If you have any questions regarding IQAir’s data and data collection and validation methods, please reach out to us at airvisual.com/contact
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