Watch: Indonesia sues its government for air pollution epidemic in Jakarta

Access to the comments Comments
By Sinead Barry
Smog permeates Jakarta City
Smog permeates Jakarta City   -   Copyright  REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

Indonesian environmental campaigners have filed a lawsuit against their government for the worsening epidemic of air pollution in the capital.

Jakarta consistently ranks highly in lists of cities with the most dangerous air in the world. AirVisual's Air Quality Index showed that pollution levels in the city for July 4 are at 142 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m³).

IQAir AirVisual

When pollutant concentration is this high, experts say that every person should wear a pollution mask, the "general public should greatly reduce outdoor exertion" and "sensitive groups should avoid all outdoor activity."

In recent weeks the pollution levels have reached as high as 152 µg/m³, deemed "unhealthy," with potential "increased aggravation of the heart and lungs."

While this figure accounts for dramatic levels of air pollution, other experts, such as the Head of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), told Euronews that even low levels of pollutants are damaging to our health.

UNICEF Indonesia reported that "air pollution is one of the leading risk factors for death among children under the age of five" in the country.

The campaigners, who include members from Greenpeace and Jakarta Legal Aid, are suing the Indonesian president, the environment and forestry minister, the interior minister, the health minister, the Jakarta governor, Banten province governor, and West Java province governor.

Over 4.2 million people die every year as a result of exposure to ambient air pollution globally, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Video editor • Francois Razy