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Kompas – July 29, 2019

Jakarta’s notorious air pollution has again been thrust into the spotlight this week thanks to a trending social media hashtag in which people shared photos of the capital’s smog blanked skyline.

Jakarta frequently tops the list of the most polluted cities in the world according to data by real-time pollution monitoring platform AirVisual. Internationally, it is ranked 11th in the list of the world’s most polluted countries with an average Air Quality Index of 42.01.

Frustrated by the government’s apparent lack of concern and inaction, Jakarta netizens responded by encouraging residents to photograph the smog and share their pictures online.

Pio Kharismayongha – a 40-year-old photographer from satellite city Tangerang who had recently complained on his Twitter account that he has to wear a mask whenever he’s out in Jakarta during the daytime – initiated the #SetorFotoPolusi hashtag along with this tweet of a smoggy Jakarta skyline.

Netizens quickly answered Kharismayongha’s call by posting numerous distressing photos from various locations in Jakarta.

The government however was obviously less concerned about the issue than Jakarta’s residents with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry saying that they don’t refer to AirVisual for air pollution data because the platform’s air monitoring instruments are not installed outdoors.

Jakarta’s Acting Environmental Agency Chief Andono Warih meanwhile sought to placate Jakartans by saying that that the capital’s air quality is “still moderate” in general and better when compared with other big cities in the world.