In the News
August 27, 2020
August 27, 2020
Pollution from nearby coal-fired power plants is choking the citizens of Jakarta, slashing years off their life expectancy, and turning the city into one of the most polluted capitals in the world, a new report shows.
The U.S. Embassy’s monitoring stations, which track levels of harmful PM2.5 particles in the air, recorded 172 days with unhealthy air quality in 2019 — nearly half the year. That was up from 101 days in 2018.
A new report by the think-tank Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) shows that the congregation of coal plants surrounding Jakarta contributes to this worsening air quality.
Reducing air pollution in Jakarta and its surroundings to meet the WHO guideline would result in tremendous health benefits, according to the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI), a metric developed by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) that converts particulate air pollution into its impact on life expectancy.
The index shows that 11 million residents of Jakarta would gain an average of 4.8 years in life expectancy if particulate pollution met the WHO guideline. In the West Java cities of Bogor, Bandung and Bekasi, and the Banten city of South Tangerang, residents would gain about 5 years.
The AQLI data is in line with recent air quality research done by Duke University and NASA, which found that reducing air pollution in the U.S. saves more money than it costs. The benefits gained from avoided deaths, avoided health care spending, and increased labor productivity amount to more than $700 billion per year, the researchers estimate. Coupled with the fact that clean energy has gotten cheaper, this should be more than enough financial justification to pay for the energy transition, advocates say.