The Resilient City of Jakarta is Full of Threats from Climate and Health Disasters
Behind Jakarta's high economic progress, there are potential threats to all the people of the capital city, such as routine flood disasters, water scarcity during the dry season, and massive exposure to air pollution.
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The following article was translated using both Microsoft Azure Open AI and Google Translation AI. The original article can be found in Kota Tangguh Jakarta Sarat Ancaman Bencana Iklim dan Kesehatan
Behind the high economic progress, there is a potential threat to all the people of the capital city. If drought strikes, some residents have difficulty getting clean water, while when the rainy season arrives, flooding becomes routine for some metropolitan areas. Apart from that, all Jakarta residents must now get used to exposure to pollution which has the potential to degrade the quality of health.
However, realizing Jakarta as a resilient city must be continually fought for in order to improve the well-being and quality of human life. The local government and stakeholders must immediately take steps to anticipate and mitigate various threats that loom over Jakarta.
One of the potential threats currently present is extreme weather which often poses a number of threats to the environment. The prolonged drought that has occurred in Indonesia in the last few months has greatly affected the lives of people in various regions. Plus there is the climate phenomenon El Nino which triggers extreme weather in Indonesia during August-October 2023 and will continue until early 2024.
Several regions, such as Java Island, Bali, East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara, West Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, North Kalimantan, South Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, and Southeast Sulawesi, are predicted to be affected by the lowest rainfall and potentially experience extreme dry season. Consequently, these regions are threatened by drought disasters, resulting in several reservoirs, dams, and water sources running dry. Communities are struggling to obtain clean water for daily needs and agricultural irrigation.
Not only in rural areas, but also in big cities around Jakarta, the drought is causing concern among the people. The dry season has caused some residents of the capital and its surrounding areas to struggle to get clean water. In fact, some have had to compete for clean water for months due to the difficulty in accessing it in their area. This is at least experienced by hundreds of residents in the Keranggan sub-district, Setu district, South Tangerang city, Banten, for the past two months.
In several areas in the capital city and surrounding areas, the clean water crisis does not only occur during the dry season, but also in everyday life when the water supply is hampered. Special Staff to the Minister of Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) for Water Resources, Firdaus Ali, said that from what is written, around 62 percent of Jakarta residents receive clean piped water. However, in fact, only 39 percent of the population of the capital city of Jakarta can access it.
Pollution and flooding
This year's prolonged dry season has added to the challenges faced by Jakarta residents and the surrounding areas, making their situation increasingly difficult. Jakarta has repeatedly been one of the cities with the highest levels of pollution in the world this year. This condition has also occurred in previous years and has become a routine condition during the dry season. The high level of air dryness and massive air pollution make the air quality in Jakarta extremely poor.
WRI's analysis reveals that the pattern of rising and falling pollution levels in Jakarta is in line with the current seasons. This is shown by the increase in the average concentration of PM 2.5 in 2019-2021 during the dry season. At the peak of the dry season, namely June, July and August, the average concentration level reaches 40-80 micrograms per cubic meter. During the rainy season which starts from September to April, the average PM 2.5 concentration level decreases.
The results of this analysis also illustrate similar conditions in the last few months. The drought and extreme weather caused by El Nino which started last August were one of the triggers for increasing air pollution in Jakarta. The reason is, in the dry season, humidity and low wind speeds cause pollutant particles to accumulate in the air. Sunlight and high air temperatures also worsen surface ozone (O3). Plus, the absence of rain causes the process of washing pollutants in the air or rain washing to not work.
Therefore, the government is trying to make artificial rain in the hope that pollutants in the air can be dissolved in the rainwater. This is the first weather modification carried out by Indonesia to reduce air pollution. Previously, countries such as China, South Korea, Thailand and India carried out weather modifications to reduce pollution in their regions. This indicates that the air quality in Jakarta and its surroundings is very worrying.
The weather modification process is conducted by spreading salt and lime into the air. For instance, to induce rain and reduce air pollution levels during the ASEAN Summit on September 5-7, 2023, a total of 17,000 kilograms of salt and 4,200 kilograms of lime will be spread for 16 days. Thousands of kilograms of these materials will be spread through 13 flights with a total flight time of 20 hours and 10 minutes.
However, shortly after, the effort to reduce air pollution during the dry season by bringing rain will contrast with the concerns of the people of Jakarta when entering the rainy season. Generally, the community hopes that high rainfall intensity does not occur around Jakarta. This is because flood disasters will inundate several areas of the capital city and become an unavoidable routine.
According to data on flood events in Jakarta 2014-2020, routine patterns can be seen that describe the location of flood events during the rainy season. Flood intensity generally increases as we enter November and reaches its peak in January-February of the following year. However, the severity of areas affected by flooding varies on a broad scale.
The latest recorded trend of flood incidence data in 2020 shows that the highest peak of flood intensity occurred in January and February. In January 2020, 151 neighborhoods in 35 districts were affected by floods with an average water inundation period of four days. The following month, in February, floods hit 167 neighborhoods in 42 districts for approximately 1-2 days. During those two months, the government recorded in several places the water inundation could reach up to 350 cm. The number of victims affected in January 2020 reached 83,400 people with 19 people dead.
Flood in the rainy season and water scarcity as well as air pollution in the dry season are currently the biggest challenges faced by residents of the capital city. The climate crisis phenomenon causing extreme weather conditions, coupled with human activities, is increasing environmental disaster threats. The indications are apparent as long drought seasons and worsening air pollution increasingly threaten the health and quality of life of the capital city community in general. The government is demanded to take immediate and maximum measures of anticipation and mitigation to face this threat.
Facing this phenomenon, the DKI Jakarta Provincial Government has long promoted the concept of a resilient city. The concept of a resilient city refers to a city that is able to adapt, prepare and recover from threatening disasters. This is manifested in various infrastructure developments, facilities and social readiness of the community to carry out preventive and recovery efforts when a disaster occurs.
For example, to tackle drought and water scarcity, the government can expand the pipeline network to reach those communities that have not yet received access to clean water. To address air pollution, strict control and sanctions can be implemented in advance on companies that produce pollutants, rather than waiting for air quality to worsen. As for flood mitigation, communities can play a role in maintaining the cleanliness of drainage channels in their surroundings. Local governments can also proactively clean up waste from rivers, dredge mud, improve drainage systems, and prepare a number of preventive measures in several flood-prone areas.
In the next few months, the rainy season awaits. Preparations for facing heavy rain and preventive efforts against flood disasters need to be increased. Do not let it be like the current long dry season when poor air quality is only dealt with after becoming a public concern. Jakarta must be able to prove that its area is a resilient city capable of adapting, preparing, and recovering from various disasters that threaten its citizens. (LITBANG KOMPAS)