About 50 percent of DKI Jakarta Provincial Government civil servants (PNS) for certain types of work have started working at home or working from home as part of efforts to deal with air pollution. In order to maximize efforts to reduce pollution, the private sector is also encouraged to take similar steps. However, the business community believes that this policy will not be able to solve the problem of air pollution.
JAKARTA – Chairperson of the Indonesian Employers’ Association (Apindo) Shinta Kamdani assesses the government’s appeal to the private sector to implement working from home (WFH) as a reactive policy. According to him, overcoming air pollution cannot only be done with WFH, moreover there are many types of work that cannot be done from home.
“The solution to pollution is not just WFH. We really need a more integrated solution, what are they? WFH is actually reactive because it is thought that if you don’t use fossil fuel vehicles, maybe it can reduce pollution. For us, not all types of work can be WFH, that is clear, for example, which factories can do WFH, hotels and housekeeping work, for example, which can do WFH,” said Shinta.
Therefore, said Shinta, the business community asked the government to look at all sides to overcome this problem. According to him, one thing that must be encouraged is the transition to energy that is more environmentally friendly, rather than just reducing the use of private vehicles by implementing a work from home policy.
“This is probably our task, how can we accelerate the existing energy transition. Why do we also support a fair transition, because indeed the energy transition is one of the solutions to reduce (pollution),” he said.
Haze covers the main business area in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, August 11, 2023. (AP/Dita Alangkara)
Regarding the instructions from the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan which required the industry to use scrubbers to reduce pollution, he also supports this.
Scrubber is a tool that functions to control and clean pollution produced by industrial activities using liquid or fluids. This liquid serves to purify various kinds of pollutants from the gas stream. The liquid used is usually water, although there are various liquids such as sulfuric acid.
The presence of this scrubber is very helpful for industrial owners to clean up waste gas which is a frightening specter for the environment. So far, said Shinta, there has been no instruction that the use of scrubbers is mandatory. If later this becomes a necessity, he hopes the government will not be careless and socialize it first.
“We can’t do something that’s mandatory right away, that’s why first of all we have to socialize it first. Why pollution? What’s the cause? What we can do? It’s impossible for all of these rules to be made mandatory immediately, because following them is also difficult. We always look at all the perpetrators, we don’t just look at the big ones. These all have an element of cost. So we have to look at the impact of costs and others,” he said.
In line with Shinta, Greenpeace Indonesia climate and energy campaigner Bondan Andriyanu said to say, tackling severe air pollution must be done from all sectors.
According to him, the government — especially the DKI Jakarta Provincial Government — so far has only focused on transportation, such as implementing WFH and emission testing. In fact, he said, the source of pollution is not only the transportation sector, but also the industrial sector, including coal-fired power plants.
So far, he has not seen any firm steps to reduce pollution from the coal sector. The government has never disclosed emission data issued by the industry and coal-fired power plants to the public.
“We also don’t have data on how many industries are actually in Jakarta, how many are outside Jakarta. How big is the emission? Over limit or not? Does the public know that there are no emission limits for industrial and coal-fired power plants that must be met? The public also doesn’t know, there is no education. In industry A, for example, how much emission does it produce? What does a coal-fired power plant produce? CO2 or what?” said Bondan.
In fact, said Bondan, Environment and Forestry Ministerial Regulation (Permen) number 15 of 2019 stipulates that coal-fired power plants and industries that have chimneys are required to install a continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS) or an air quality measuring device. The tool will be able to describe real time data possibly related to emissions.
Air pollution in Jakarta has become a new problem after the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: VOA/Indra Yoga)
“So we don’t have to argue, so what is the source of the pollution? Is it from industry, power plant, transportation? The data should be opened first so we don’t have to argue anymore. In fact, the handling of air pollution cannot be selective, everything must be handled. Even if we handle transportation issues with emission tests and WFH, it means that there must also be one in the industrial sector. For example, the data shows that of all the existing industries, it turns out that there are 10 that exceed emissions. Later they are punished, for example by alternating operating hours. There has never been such a move,” he said.
In addition, he said, the handling of air pollution should not only be borne by DKI Jakarta. The buffer zones of Jakarta must also try to suppress pollution, because pollution outside Jakarta will definitely be carried over to the Jakarta area. (uh/ab)