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Air quality improving: Official
Damar Harsanto, The Jakarta Post (20 Aug 2004)

JAKARTA, INDONESIA: Although many people complain about choking air caused by high levels of air pollution, the City Environmental Management Agency (BPLDH) has reported that Jakarta enjoyed more days with "better" air quality last year.

Agency air pollution control division head Yusiono Anwar Supalal said on Thursday that Jakartans enjoyed a total of 25.55 of 365 days in 2003, or 7 percent, with good air quality, meaning the air did not adversely impact living creatures.

The number of days was higher compared with 2002 when only 20.90 days, or 5.75 percent, were categorized as days with good air quality.

"We have not made a comprehensive analysis on why air quality was better on those days, but have assumed that the longer holidays last year were one factor that contributed to cleaner air," Yusiono told The Jakarta Post.

He pointed out that many Jakartans left the city during long holidays or took part in fewer activities.

"It also meant that fewer vehicles were about on those holidays."

Vehicular emissions account for 70 percent of air pollution in the city, while the remaining 30 percent is from industrial emissions.

Jakarta is home to around 4.7 million vehicles -- consisting of 1.3 million passenger cars, 403,000 commercial vehicles, 315,000 buses and 2.6 million motorcycles.

Environmentalists have warned that air quality in the city would deteriorate further due to a 5 percent increase in the number of vehicles every year, not to mention chronic traffic congestion and the operation of old vehicles.

The report is good news, as the agency reported last year that air quality in Jakarta had worsened dramatically. The agency produces an annual report on air quality based on data it collects from six air pollution monitoring stations placed across the capital.

Jakarta Air Quality

2000 2001 2002 2003

% of the year Good 26 20.55 5.75 7 Moderate 74 70.68 62.19 76.00 Unhealthy 0 8.49 31.23 17 Very Unhealthy 0 0.27 0.82 0 Harmful 0 0 0 0

Source: Jakarta Environmental Management Agency

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