Jakarta is the world’s most polluted city

Indonesia has ordered a major coal-fired plant operator outside Jakarta’s metro area (pop: 31 million) to halve output in order to address air pollution.

The curb came just as the capital city hosted this week’s ASEAN Summit, and was presumably one of several steps Indonesia took to put on its best face.

But cosmetic measures won’t be enough to clear the world’s most-polluted city’s air. Policymakers have also:

  • 🚄 Opened a new light rail to serve the metro area
  • 💻 Ordered some civil servants to work from home to reduce commutes, and
  • 🏗️ Broken ground on a new capital, Nusantara, to alleviate Jakarta’s congestion.

Intrigue’s take: Interestingly, a US and Japan-led partnership of rich countries promised $20B to help wean Indonesia off coal at last year’s G20 in Bali. But the details have proven devilish, and the partners said last month they need several more months to kick things off.

For the pollution-choked residents of Jakarta, there’s no time to waste.

Also worth noting:

  • Several press reports have speculated that Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s stubborn cough is related to the capital’s air pollution.
  • Indonesia currently generates around 60% of its electricity from coal, and is the world’s largest coal exporter.
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