INDONESIAN PRESIDENT FOUND NEGLIGENT IN JAKARTA AIR POLLUTION LAWSUIT
The Central Jakarta District Court ruled that Indonesian President Joko Widodo, along with the ministers of Health, Environment, and Home Affairs and three governors, neglected citizens’ rights to clean air in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia (New York Times). The ruling ordered the officials to improve air quality in the capital, including obliging the president to create national air quality standards and requiring the health minister and Jakarta governor to develop air pollution control methods, amongst other measures (Reuters). The court dismissed allegations of human rights violations.
The lawsuit was filed in 2019 by a group of Jakarta residents and activists, including individuals with pollution-related diseases (AP News). The plaintiffs called on scientific research that shows air pollution can lead to asthma, decreased life expectancy, heart disease, and more, arguing the officials were failing to protect the capital’s citizens. They requested greater supervision and regulations for polluters, but did not request monetary compensation.
The ruling comes after Indonesia ranked as the 9th most polluted country in 2020, according to the IQAir Index for Air Quality. Indonesia’s air quality is considered unhealthy for people sensitive to pollution (Bloomberg). In Jakarta, home to over 30 million people in the greater metropolitan area, coal-fired power plants, rapid development, and traffic are major contributors to the capital’s poor air quality.