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Jokowi Orders WFH, Weather Modification to Tackle Jakarta Air Pollution

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo convened a number of cabinet ministers and regional heads at the Merdeka Palace in Central Jakarta today, August 14, to discuss Jakarta’s increasingly worrisome air pollution.

In his opening remarks, the President pointed out that the capital’s air quality index had reached 156 which is considered unhealthy. He said this was caused by the prolonged dry season for the past three months, emissions from transportation, and industrial activities in Greater Jakarta or Jabodetabek, especially those using coal in the manufacturing industry sector.

“In the short term, measures must be taken as soon as possible to improve the air quality in Jabodetabek,” he stressed.

Jokowi called for weather modification to induce rain in the area and enforcement of regulations to speed up the implementation of emission limits. He also demanded the expansion of green open spaces.

“This certainly requires a budget. Prepare the budget, and if necessary, we must be bold to push a lot of offices to implement hybrid work, work from home. I don’t know, maybe this limited meeting will decide, it can be 75 percent [of workers at home] and 25 percent [at the office] or others,” he explained.

In the medium term, the state head urged ministers to consistently implement policies to reduce the use of fossil fuel vehicles and push for an immediate switch to mass transportation. He mentioned that LRT Jabodebek and the Jakarta-Bandung bullet train, which will soon be open to the public, should be actively promoted.

Jokowi also called for increased efforts to mitigate climate change and monitoring of the industrial sector and power plants, especially around Jabodetabek, as well as public education on air pollution.

In recent weeks, Jakarta’s air quality has been classified as unhealthy. This week, it was also forecast to be unhealthy for sensitive groups.