Indonesian capital becomes world’s most polluted major city | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Indonesian capital becomes world’s most polluted major city

AFP | Jakarta          

The Daily Tribune –

Indonesian capital Jakarta has become the world’s most polluted major city, according to air quality monitoring firm IQAir, topping global charts for days as authorities fail to grapple with a spike in toxic smog.

Air pollution is estimated to contribute to seven million premature deaths every year and is considered by the United Nations to be the single biggest environmental health risk. The capital and its surroundings form a megalopolis of about 30 million people that has outpaced other heavily polluted cities including Riyadh, Doha and Lahore all week for its concentration of tiny particles known as PM2.5.

It has topped Swiss company IQAir’s ranking of pollution data -- which only tracks major cities -- every day since Monday, according to an AFP tally. Jakarta has regularly recorded “unhealthy” levels of PM2.5, which can penetrate airways to cause respiratory problems, many times the World Health Organization’s recommended levels.

President Joko Widodo told reporters Monday he plans to tackle pollution levels by reducing “Jakarta’s burden” as the country prepares to move its capital to Nusantara on Borneo island next year. He also said a planned metro train network across Jakarta “must be finished” to reduce pollution.

Residents have complained that the pollution caused by industrial smog, traffic congestion and coal-powered plants was affecting their lives and health. “I have to wear a mask all the time. Both my body and my face are suffering,” Anggy Violita, a 32-year-old officer worker in Jakarta, said.