Jumat, Mei 15, 2009

Cleaning Up Jakarta's Air

Jakarta’s clean air campaigners seem to be making some headway in their long, uphill fight against pollution. At long last, the city fathers have begun to show some unmistakable. Sign of discomfort at having the nation’s capital rated the third-most polluted in the world, after Mexico City and Bangkok. Now, steps are being taken to cut the city’s air pollution.

After almost a year-long trial and education, smoking in public places will be prohibited as of next year. Lest they lose some of their tobacco-puffing clientele, however, hotels, mall, cafes and restaurants will still be allowed to tolerate smokers. But they have to do their puffing in restricted smoking areas.

But while all this will no doubt please Jakarta’s growing numbers of non-smokers, the main target of the anti-pollution drive will be the roads. There are 1.5 million cars pouring out the choking black smoke. You can see the blue fog from the 3 million motorbikes and the billowing smoke from thousands of city busses. They not only throw Jakarta’s traffic into a state of disorder every day in the year, but also contribute to some 80 percent of the city’ air pollution.

Now, pubic demands are being voiced for City Hall to require public transportation operators to use compressed natural gas (CNG) instead of gasoline. Gas, it is presumed, gives off less pollution and could in the final instance be cheaper than gasoline.

Understandably, many people stand to be inconvenienced by the city’s new clean air regulations. Jakarta simply cannot go on accommodating a 7 percent annual growth in the number of motor vehicles on it’s road. Unless they are willing to see the city strangled and suffocated in an unending tangle of cars and motorbike by 2010. something, indeed, must be done.

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