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|Surabaya, East Java
|Pagak, East Java
|Bandung, West Java
|South Tangerang, Banten
|Palembang, South Sumatra
|Bogor, West Java
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| 58 US AQI
PM2.5 concentration in Bekasi is currently 3.1 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Saturday, Mar 2
Moderate 84 AQI US
|Sunday, Mar 3
Moderate 70 AQI US
|Monday, Mar 4
Moderate 69 AQI US
Moderate 58 AQI US
|Wednesday, Mar 6
Moderate 64 AQI US
|Thursday, Mar 7
Moderate 65 AQI US
|Friday, Mar 8
Moderate 51 AQI US
|Saturday, Mar 9
Good 43 AQI US
|Sunday, Mar 10
Good 39 AQI US
|Monday, Mar 11
Moderate 53 AQI US
|Tuesday, Mar 12
Good 45 AQI US
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Bekasi is a city in west java, located just east of the capital city Jakarta. With a population of some 2.9 million people, and with close proximity to the capital, as one would expect the pollution levels are somewhat elevated year-round, coming in at second place of all cities ranked in Indonesia as of 2019, with south Tangerang taking the number one spot.
Bekasi came in with a PM2.5 reading of 62.6 µg/m³ as a yearly average over 2019, putting it into the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket. In order for a city to be classed as unhealthy, its PM2.5 reading must sit anywhere between 55.5 to 150.4 µg/m³ to be counted as such. Pm2.5 refers to particulate matter of 2.5 or less micrometers in diameter, and is one of the core components used in measuring air pollution levels and calculating the air quality index ratings. As well as this, its incredibly small size (approximately 3% that of a human hair) makes it highly dangerous to breathe, with many far-reaching health issues when exposed to particulate matter on a long-term basis.
With Bekasi taking the second place out of all cities in Indonesia, it is of note that it also took 45th place out of all the worlds most polluted cities, showing indeed that the levels of pollution are less than desirable, with only one month out of the year that came in below the unhealthy rating bracket (January 2019 with a reading of 52.1 µg/m³, which still puts it in the higher end of the ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups bracket’.
With a yearly average of 62.6 µg/m³ giving it an unhealthy rating, this means that not only sensitive demographics of the population would be affected, such as young children, the elderly and the immunocompromised, but even young and healthy adults.
To go into detail about the health effects of living in an unhealthy rated city, they would include symptoms such as aggravated asthma attacks in those suffering from it, as well as triggering it off in people who may not have ever suffered from it before, due to the PM2.5 and PM10’s ability to enter deep into the lungs and cause irritation and all manner of negative reactions. This can also lead to instances of chest infections, due to the lining of the airways being continuously inflamed and therefore susceptible to bacterial or viral attacks.
PM2.5 can enter deep into the alveoli of the lungs, or the small air sacs that collect oxygen and distribute it into the bloodstream. It can accumulate here and interfere with the lungs abilities to efficiently absorb oxygen, thus reducing overall lung function, as well as crossing over into the bloodstream and causing damage to the circulatory system, with blood vessels being affected and higher rates of cardiac events such as heart attacks, arrythmias and heart diseases all occurring.
Young children exposed over long periods of time can grow up with decreased lung function, therefore being at risk of stunted growth as well as cognitive defects. For babies still in the womb the effects may be more disastrous, with mothers who breathe such highly polluted air having increased rates of miscarriage, babies born with low birth rate as well as birth defects, all of which are highly detrimental to a populations general wellbeing.
Observing the data recorded over the year of 2019, Bekasi suffered from its worst pollution over the months of May and June. They came in with PM2.5 readings of 74.6 and 81.2 µg/m³ respectively, and although they were not massively higher than the rest of the year, they still exceeded the lowest reading taken in January by nearly 30 µg/m³, which when taken as a number on its own, would already be counted as a high level of PM2.5, let alone as a difference between two different readings over separate months. In contrast, as mentioned before, January came in with the ‘cleanest’ air with a reading of 52.1 µg/m³. Of important note, is that although the city of Bekasi came in at second place out of all cities in Indonesia as of 2019, it is not located on the island of Sumatra, and as such it would not be subject to the open burn fires that are practiced by farmers there, causing the catastrophic spikes in PM2.5 over the month of September, with numbers as high as 214.9 µg/m³ being recorded in Pekanbaru, which is located on the Sumatran portion of Indonesia.
If a city such as Bekasi were to reduce its pollution levels, many steps would have to be taken to ensure this happens, instead of taking temporary measures such as spraying the air with water to clean haze and smog out of the atmosphere, which have little to no effect on the long-term air pollution levels. Introduction of low emission zones would be of huge help, as well as the enforcement of laws regarding the use of diesel-based vehicles, due to the higher amounts of pollution (such as nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone and black carbon that they all give out) as opposed to their cleaner fuel source counterparts.
Another hugely helpful step would be to move away from the reliance of coal-based industries, as the numerous factories that surround greater Jakarta and its cities all run off of huge amounts of fossil fuels. These spew out huge amounts of smoke and pollution on a year-round basis, and a switch to cleaner and renewable fuel sources would see drastic reductions in the pollution levels that afflicts Bekasi year-round.
As touched on briefly before, the main sources of pollution would be fumes from vehicles as well as smoke and haze from factories. Unlike its Sumatran counterpart, it does not have the huge problem of slash and burn farming practices, although open burning of organic matter and refuse does still exist, contributing to the ambient levels of pollution throughout the year. So, as it stands, the massive volume of cars coming in and out of Bekasi going back and forth to Jakarta would be one main source, with the other one being the huge ring of fossil fuel-based factories surrounding greater Jakarta and inflicting it with massively inflated levels of pollution, as observed on the IQAir readings taken over the last year.