A number of Greenpeace activists installed a billboard in Jalan Jend, Jakarta to campaign for cleaner air with a message #WeBreatheTheSameAir. Image: Earlier this year, citizens of Jakarta filed a lawsuit against the city government, the governors of West Java and Banten, and the central Indonesian government. Their demand? That elected officials address rising air pollution. “The government needs to accept that Jakarta’s air quality is already bad, and develop a programme to target air pollution,” said Fajri Fadhillah, a legal assistant with the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law, which is supporting the citizens’ lawsuit. The lawsuit comes just months after a report from AirVisual IQ showed that in 2018 Jakarta had the worst air pollution of any city in Southeast Asia, ranking just ahead of Vietnam’s Hanoi. Not far behind the two capitals were several Thai cities. All of the “top” cities had average daily levels of the most dangerous air pollution—PM2.5—well above standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO). It’s a common story across the region. As air pollution worsens, urban residents put more pressure on governments to address a key source—coal-fired power plants. These are perhaps the early signs of an air pollution movement that […]

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