|2||Depok, West Java|
|5||Surabaya, East Java|
|10||South Tangerang, Banten|
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Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups|| 112 US AQI||PM2.5|
|PM2.5|| 39.8 µg/m³|
|PM10|| 33.1 µg/m³|
|SO2|| 36.9 µg/m³|
PM2.5 concentration in Surabaya air is currently 3 times above WHO exposure recommendation
|Friday, Jun 18|
Unhealthy 156 US AQI
|Saturday, Jun 19|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 138 US AQI
|Sunday, Jun 20|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 109 US AQI
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 112 US AQI
|Tuesday, Jun 22|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 106 US AQI
|Wednesday, Jun 23|
Moderate 60 US AQI
|Thursday, Jun 24|
Moderate 69 US AQI
|Friday, Jun 25|
Moderate 57 US AQI
|Saturday, Jun 26|
Good 13 US AQI
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Surabaya is the capital city of the Indonesian province of east Java, being one of the four main cities of the country, with the others being Jakarta, Medan and Makassar. Surabaya has some 2.89 million inhabitants within its city limits, making it quite densely populated. In regards to its levels of pollution, Surabaya has consistently elevated levels of pollution, and whilst it is not as bad as some of the other cities located in Indonesia, the health effects of breathing the air here would be quite negative on those subject to it on a year-round basis.
In 2019, it came in with a PM2.5 average of 40.6 µg/m³, giving it a rating of being “unhealthy for sensitive groups”. Such a rating requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 35.5 to 55.4 µg/m³ to be classified as such, which would mean that sensitive demographics of the population such as young children, the elderly and sick, or immunocompromised, would be at significant risk for adverse health effects. PM2.5 levels this high would also have detrimental effects on the healthy and able-bodied portion of the population as well, with a high number of health effects that will be explained in further detail.
PM2.5 refers to fine particulate matter of 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, making approximately 3% of the size of an average human hair. It is one of the main atmospheric pollutants and as such is often used in calculating the overall air quality, as a high number of fine particulate matter in the air means that there will be many negative health effects associated with breathing these fine particles.
With a PM2.5 average of 40.6 µg/m³, this number was enough to put it in 7th place out of the most polluted cities in Indonesia, as well as ranking in at 226th place worldwide, showing that the quality of air in Surabaya is quite bad, with high pollution levels and large amounts of smoke, haze and other particulate matter permeating the atmosphere.
Once again referring to the 2019 data charts (which of note, have some months missing from them in the earlier part of the year due to lack of readings available), it appears that air pollution was at its highest in the months of June, July and December, all with their own PM2.5 readings of 46.9 µg/m³, 49.3 µg/m³ and 47.8 µg/m³. These readings put the months into the higher side of the rating bracket (unhealthy for sensitive groups), meaning that the air would have a whole host of negative side effects.
Other months of note are October and November, and whilst they were not quite as high as the months mentioned above, they still had readings that put them into the unhealthy for sensitive groups bracket. The rest of the year found their months sitting in the ‘moderate’ pollution bracket (12.1 to 35.4 µg/m³), and when compared to other cities in Indonesia, shows similar trends in terms of pollution spikes. The capital city of Jakarta also found its worst months in June and July, with readings 58.3 µg/m³ and 67.2 µg/m³ respectively. Whilst there are large amounts of differences in the other months, these similarities go to show that the Javanese portion of Indonesia, and indeed Surabaya itself, will be suffering from its worst air pollution in the middle portion of the year (with the island of Sumatra being an exception due to the forest and farmland fires that occur in September, giving radically elevated numbers towards the end of the year).
Whilst being conveniently located far away from the Sumatran portion of Indonesia excludes Surabaya from experiencing the catastrophic spikes in pollution that occur there (that also affect Malaysia and Singapore via strong winds blowing the huge clouds of smog and haze directly over to them), there are still many local sources that cause the higher readings of PM2.5 that makes the air so unhealthy to breathe. Pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) would be readily available in the atmosphere, along with other chemical compounds and fine particulate matter such as carbon monoxide (CO), furans, dioxins as well as black carbon and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s).
All of these can be formed via the burning of fossil fuels, as well as the burning of organic matter such as wood, plants and even refuse and waste (which contain plastics as well, further compounding the issue). Black carbon is the primary component in soot and can often be found coating areas that see high volumes of traffic, such as underpasses and the sides of motorways. Besides being visually unappealing, it has a whole host of negative health effects when respired, as well as having significant effects on the environment.
These are the main sources and causes of pollution in Surabaya, coming from the high number of cars, motorbikes, trucks and lorries populating the roads, as well as open burning practices, the use of coal and other fossil fuels in factories and other industrial related production plants. These all combine to form the high levels of pollution that are seen not only in Surabaya but also country wide.
Whilst the range of symptoms would be extremely high in number, the ones of most importance would be instances of lung cancer, respiratory infections as well as irritation to the nose, eyes ears and mouth. Reduced lung function is commonplace, and young children can suffer from a host of allergies, growth issues as well as cognitive defects from over exposure.
Unborn babies that are exposed whilst in the womb can be end up being born prematurely, with low birth weight, or in the worst instances the mother could have a miscarriage. Heart attacks, arrhythmias and damage to the blood vessels and heart itself are also very possible, with respiratory, pulmonary and cardiac illnesses all being the most prevalent.
Actions that would have a direct impact on pollution levels in Surabaya would be the removal of as many diesel-based vehicles off of the road as possible, with a switch to cleaner fuel alternatives. The same would go for the numerous factories that are dotted around the city, many of which run of fossil fuels, putting out much higher volumes of pollution than is necessary. Whilst elements like this may seem a long way off, they would have rapid effects if the correct initiatives and enforcements were to be put into place.