Indonesia sanctions 11 firms over Jakarta pollution spikes

Indonesia sanctions 11 firms over Jakarta pollution spikes

Buildings are seen in the haze caused by air pollution in Jakarta on Friday. The megalopolis of about 30 million people has seen air pollution levels rise to some of the highest in the world in recent months, topping global rankings multiple times since the beginning of August, according to Swiss air monitor IQAir. (AFP photo)
Buildings are seen in the haze caused by air pollution in Jakarta on Friday. The megalopolis of about 30 million people has seen air pollution levels rise to some of the highest in the world in recent months, topping global rankings multiple times since the beginning of August, according to Swiss air monitor IQAir. (AFP photo)

Indonesia has sanctioned 11 industrial firms for failing to meet operational standards as the government moves to deal with major pollution spikes in the capital Jakarta, the environment minister said Monday.

Air pollution levels in the megalopolis of about 30 million people have risen to some of the highest in the world in recent months, topping global rankings multiple times since the beginning of August, according to Swiss air monitor IQAir.

The government had blamed weather patterns and vehicle emissions for the spike but some ministers have recently acknowledged coal-fired power plants and factories around the capital were also partly responsible.

"We have imposed administrative sanctions on 11 entities," Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar told a news conference, without identifying the firms.

"This means that based on inspections, we have identified areas where they don't meet the standards, and they are required to rectify these issues."

She said the sanctioned firms were coal stockpiling, smelting, paper and charcoal companies.

The administrative sanctions were not outlined.

The action came on the same day that President Joko Widodo inaugurated Jakarta's first elevated light railway line, which he said would alleviate chronic traffic and help reduce pollution.

The Light Rail Transit will link central Jakarta to surrounding satellite cities such as Bekasi.

Widodo said in a cabinet meeting last week that the long dry season, vehicle emissions and industrial activities were all factors in the pollution spike.

In another move to improve the city's air quality, the Jakarta administration has ordered half its civil servants to work from home in a two-month trial that started last week.

Jakarta officials have stressed that no public services would be affected by the trial, emphasising that only non-essential government workers can work from home.

Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT