With the progress of time, urbanization and development has resulted to be the root cause for environmental depletion. Any developing country tries to construct and develop by exploiting nature and eventually unacceptable consequences are foreseen (Alam et al. 2016). While focusing on Indonesia, it can be said that the environment is much affected by air pollution and the reasons are mostly because of human activities. Air pollution has not only impacted on human health, respiratory problems and lung diseases but also depleted the ozone layer by emitting excessive amount of green-house gasses (Yoo, Kim and Hadi 2014).This research will discuss the factors and challenges that Indonesia is facing related to air pollution and will finally highlight some suitable recommendations for reducing the same in future.
Indonesia is developing and therefore there are plenty of infrastructure development projects, which are mostly emitting huge amount of carbon in the atmosphere resulting in more toxic chemicals through oxidization. Most of the projects are developed though burning dense forests in favor of getting empty land. However, this has led Indonesia to be the 6th largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Indonesia contributes 4.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions (Papargyropoulouet al. 2015).
Some of the major challenges are listed below:
- Burden imposed to government from fuel subsidy
- 12% Carbon dioxide emission resulting from land transportation
- 90% air pollution occurring due to CO, HC, NOx, SOx, PM and O3
- Challenges from Free Trade ASEAN Economic Community (2015), UNECA Regulation and ASEAN MRA (2012)
With the effect of urbanization there has been accelerated population and housing demands, which resulted in clearing dense biologically forests. Deforestation in Indonesia is mostly done through open fire that resulted in emitting carbon. 80% of deforestation is done illegally by logging industries, which has ranked Indonesia to be the 3rd largest greenhouse gas emitter (Brunet al. 2015). Carbon reacts with oxygen in the atmosphere to emit carbon dioxide gases in excess to oxygen creating an imbalance of fresh air. On the other hand, carbon when reaches to the stratosphere, reacts with ozone to create hydrochlorofluorocarbons, chlorofluorocarbons and halons. Therefore, such coolants are being destroyed to allow ultraviolet rays to penetrate atmosphere resulting in skin diseases and cancer (Alesina, Gennaioli and Lovo 2014). Since there is excessive deforestation in Indonesia through forest fires, carbon has been the main cause for air pollution.
Industrialization and Transportation
Atmosphere of Indonesia is filled with harmful sulfuric acid. These are mostly emitted from transportation vehicles. Sulfur oxides released in the atmosphere precipitates through acid rains. This includes smog, fog and rain associated with particulate matters (Sari, Sulistyo and Utomo 2017). Soil, water bodies and trees are getting eroded due to acidification. There have been more than 16,000 premature deaths in Indonesia as recorded in 2012 just because of air pollution and toxic chemicals (Braueret al. 2015). On the other hand, due to industrialization from pulp and paper industries and logging industries hasled to fuel combustion for manufacturing releasing toxic sulfur and nitric acids in the atmosphere.
The government of Indonesia can be considered as failure in resolving corruption and illegal activities. Conservation of land and environment protection could have been concrete if there would have been policies, rules and regulations (Aboodet al. 2015). Indonesia is extremely poor in limiting resource exploitation and natural resource consumption. Builders, promoters and syndicates are the most responsible for deforestation and soil erosion and illegal timbre logging business. However, the futile environmental policies from government have resulted in poor resource management.
Emission of carbon has resulted in ozone layer depletion resulting to allow harmful ultraviolet rays to penetrate. These rays have created human skin diseases, cancer and premature deaths. Also, there has been huge amount of carbon in excessive to oxygen creating more carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Both of these gases along with sulfur and nitrogen affects the environment through acid rain, smog and fog (Nakazawaet al. 2016). On the other hand, Eutrophication has resulted from excessive nitrogen emitted from transport vehicles and industries, which continues to impact water bodies by killing fishes, plants and animal diversity. Eutrophication has also destroyed the marine ecosystem by ageing lakes and estuaries.
Indonesian landforms are mostly affected due to acid rains associated with smog. Smog is the combination of fog and smoke containing particulate toxic chemicals. These chemicals react with buildings and sculptures to erode the surfaces. Such erosion destroys buildings due to which more resources are consumed for restructuring and redesigning. On the other hand, due to acid rain, the most impacted are plants and trees as the leaves are eroded due to acids. Once the surfaces of tree leaves are eroded, it impacts on photosynthesis and finally death occurs (Langmann 2014). This impacts on soil erosion, loss of plantation and finally raising the toxicity in bare land, which cannot be used for agriculture in future.
Atmosphere of Indonesia is completely filled with methane, sulfur, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur oxide, carbon dioxide, Chlorofluorocarbons and other particulates. All these gases cumulatively have resulted to impact mortality. On the other hand, not so severe yet considerable challenges such as skin tan, Cardiovascular diseases and Lung diseases are quite prominent. Considering agriculture, toxic gases in atmosphere containing sulfur will react with fresh green vegetables to increase the amount to toxicity (Hayasakaet al. 2014). Once consumed, this will result in cancer and health deterioration in long term basis.
Requirements for Overcoming Challenges
The above discussion has highlighted that air pollution is mostly occurred in Indonesia due to forest fire. Therefore, deforestation has to be prevented in future completely and more plantation has to be done. The supplier commodity of agriculture must stop forest clearance immediately and any further peatland development has to be halted. Moratorium for peatland concession licensing has to be introduced (Alesina, Gennaioli and Lovo 2014). On the other hand, water management measures can be implemented through re-flooding critical areas, which will eventually reduce fire risks. Asia Pulp & Paper has been found to be the only company for maximum forest burning and therefore, the government has to take measures for preventing their illegal activities. Taking initiatives such as planting trees in road sides, parks and house gardens will surely reduce air pollution and releasing more fresh air in the atmosphere.
The transportation of Indonesia is mostly dependent on fuel based cars. Therefore, more fuel combustion releases more carbon in the atmosphere. Fuel based cars need to be replaced by battery operated sources and hybrid engines need to be put into action. Also, liquified gas can be used as fuel since less carbon is emitted. Such replacements will take huge time and budget but the government needs to be keen in supporting such activities (Bothet al. 2013). Electronic vehicles and hybrid engine replacement must be done within next 5 years and infrastructure development has to be done. However, immediately the old vehicles which emit the maximum carbon in atmosphere need to be replaced by new vehicles. Further use of Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and cleaner burning gasoline vehicles will help in reducing smoke and particulate matters. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will help in limiting the smoke emission and therefore less sulfur and carbon will be emitted (Dirgahayani 2013).
Government Initiatives and Policies
National Action Plan on Climate Change Adaptation (RAN-API) will act as the guidance for providing near-term priority adaptation by the decision makers. The action plan designed by regional provinces will need to be supported by the government and subsidy needs to be provided in terms of financing. On the other hand, the government needs to take action for policy adaptation from developed countries for limiting illegal deforestation. Rules, regulations, fines and penalties needs to be designed so that none of the entities are left or given privilege. Plantation, adaptation, rainwater canal, infrastructure development and transportation technology need to be taken care by government in future.
While summing, it can be said that Indonesia can reduce its air pollution if both the government and industrialists take a positive note in improving environment. The most important reason for air pollution has been found to be deforestation and therefore it needs to be reduced by joint initiatives taken by government and industrialists. On the other hand, transportation and urbanization has to be optimized through designing policies and limiting resource consumption. Alternative sources of resources must be utilized such as electric vehicles, hybrid fuel engines and hydrogen based cars. In future, Indonesia will surely be the country where there will be least air pollution.
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