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World Resources 1996-97
(A joint publication by The World Resource Institute, The United
 Nations Environment Programme, The United Nations Development
 Programme, and the World Bank)
 (Edited by Dr. Róbinson Rojas)

1. Cities and the Environment

Box 2. The Challenge of Environmental Deterioration in Jakarta

Jakarta, Indonesia, embodies many of the contradictory forces at play in rapidly industrializing megacities of the world. These "engines of growth," as they are so commonly called, play a vital role in national economic development. Yet at the same time, worsening environmental problems threaten economic prosperity and human health. In Jakarta, city officials have begun to grapple with these problems in earnest.

Like many megacities, Jakarta is the country's center of government, finance, commerce, and education. The city is leading the country's incredible economic growth--Indonesia's gross domestic product (GDP) increased 5.7 percent per year between 1980 and 1992 (1). As much as 7 percent of Indonesia's GDP, 17 percent of domestic industrial production, and 61 percent of its banking and financial activities are concentrated in the metropolis (2). Per capita income in Jakarta is 70 percent higher than the national average (3).

With economic growth, Jakarta has made major strides in improving overall health and quality of life in the city. In 1989, mortality rates for infants were lower for the city than for the country as a whole, 31.7 per 1,000 live births compared with 58 nationally (4). Combined male and female life expectancy was 66.5 years compared with 62 years nationally (5).

Yet economic growth has had its costs, most notably in the form of increased pollution. As with many other megacities, Jakarta faces a serious problem of air pollution. Ambient levels of particulate matter exceed health standards at least 173 days per year. Vehicle emissions constitute the most important source of harmful pollutants (44 percent of particulates, 89 percent of hydrocarbons, 73 percent of nitrogen oxides, and 100 percent of lead). As the demand for motor vehicles rises with economic growth, attendant pollution is likely to worsen (6). The residential sector also contributes about 41 percent of particulate matter, largely from the burning of solid waste by households and by refuse recyclers; industry contributes the greatest share of sulfur oxides (63 percent) (7).

Jakarta's air pollution is associated with high levels of respiratory disease. Respiratory tract infections, for example, account for 12.6 percent of mortality in Jakarta--more than twice the national average (8). Ambient lead levels, which regularly exceed health standards by a factor of 3 or 4 (9), are associated with increased incidence of hypertension, coronary heart disease, and IQ losses in children (10).

Jakarta's water quality is suffering under the combined strain of domestic and industrial pollution. The backbone of the sanitation system is still an open ditch system that serves as a conduit for all wastewater. While this system may have been adequate for a city of less than half a million--the size of the city when the system was planned--it cannot cope with the wastes of the current 11.5 million residents (11). In 1989, an estimated 200,000 cubic meters of wastewater per day, largely untreated, was disposed of into the city's waterways (12) (13). Domestic wastewater is estimated to contribute 80 percent of surface water pollution, although industrial discharges are a growing concern. In some areas, groundwater is polluted with nitrates and microorganisms from domestic waste and toxics leached from industrial landfills.

Water pollution has impacts on both human health and aquatic life. Diarrhea is responsible for 20 percent of deaths for children under age 5 in Jakarta (14). Organic pollution has also contributed to the decline of coral reefs within Jakarta Bay (15) (16). In the Angke estuary in Jakarta Bay, the mercury content in commercial fish species far exceeds World Health Organization guidelines for human consumption (17).

Jakarta's aquifer is also suffering from overextraction and salinization. At least 30 percent of Jakarta's population relies on the aquifer for water. Because the city lacks a system for registering and controlling water extraction, more water is withdrawn than is naturally recharged. Parts of the city have sunk 30 to 70 centimeters in the past 15 years due to land subsidence (18). Urban expansion into the water catchment areas southwest and southeast of Jakarta is further threatening the aquifer.

For Jakarta's 1.4 million poor, however, the greatest environmental threats still occur at the household and neighborhood level. One recent survey found that in the poorest wealth quintile, 31 percent of households have neither a piped water connection nor access to a private well, compared with 12 percent for the city as a whole (19). In addition, the poorest households were less likely to have neighborhood waste collection and more likely to share toilets and have problems with flies both near the toilet and in food-handling areas (20).

Jakarta officials have taken a number of steps to reverse environmental degradation. One of the most successful programs has been the Kampung Improve- ment Project, which has improved living conditions for more than 3.5 million people. The program has been duplicated in 200 cities throughout Indonesia (21). In partnership with local communities, the government identifies priority actions such as water supply networks, which include a standpipe for each 25 to 35 families. O ther improvements include paved footpaths with side drains, sanitary facilities, garbage carts and waste collection stations, and public health centers. Funding comes primarily from the government and donor agencies, although in some cases community members match these investments. The communities themselves are responsible for operation and maintenance of the facilities (22).

To protect natural resources, the government passed a 1992 "spatial planning" law designed to restrict development in environmentally sensitive areas. The government has also been actively trying to set emission standards for cars and to introduce unleaded gasoline. Already 2,000 taxis and buses in Jakarta run on compressed natural gas, and planners hope to expand the program to 50,000 vehicles nationally (23). The Prokasih (Clean River Program), a cooperative agreement between local communities and the government of Jakarta, has managed to reduce the pollution of the Ciliwung River within just 3 years, from 1989 to 1992, although much remains to be done (24). For Jakarta, continued investment in environmental management is crucial if it hopes to contain and even reverse environmental deterioration.

References and Notes

1. The World Bank, World Development Report 1994 (Oxford University
   Press, New York, 1994), p. 164.

2. Giles Clarke, Suhaid Hadiwinoto, and Josef Leitmann, "Environmental
   Profile of Jakarta," draft paper (The World Bank, Washington, D.C.,
   1991), pp. 1, 7.

3. Ibid., p. 7.

4. Other data sources show very different numbers for infant mortality
   rates. The Demographic Health Survey places the national Indonesia
   infant mortality rate at 74.2 per 1,000, with 44.9 per 1,000 for
   Jakarta. The World Bank reports a national infant mortality rate at
   64 per 1,000. However, in all cases, data suggest that infant
   mortality in Jakarta is lower than in rural Indonesia.

5. Op. cit. 2, p. 35.

6. The World Bank, Indonesia Environment and Development: Challenges
   for the Future (The World Bank, Washington, D.C., 1994), p. 73.

7. Ibid. 8. Op. cit. 6, p. 81.

9. Bart Ostro, "Estimating the Health Effects of Air Pollutants: A
   Method with an Application to Jakarta," Policy Research Working
   Paper No. 1301 (The World Bank, Washington, D.C., 1994), p. 44.

10. Ibid., p. 47.

11. United Nations (U.N.), World Urbanization Prospects: The 1994
    Revision (U.N., New York, 1995), p. 135.

12. K.C. Sivaramakrishnan, Metropolitan Management (The World Bank,
    Washington, D.C., 1986), p. 197.

13. Op. cit. 6, p. 70.

14. Op. cit. 2, p. 35.

15. Tommy Firman and Ida Ayu Indira Dharmapatni, "The Challenges to
    Sustainable Development in Jakarta Metropolitan Region," Habitat
    International, Vol. 18, No. 3 (1994), p. 88.

16. Op. cit. 6, p. 91.

17. Op. cit. 6, p. 91.

18. John McBeth, "Water Peril: Indonesia's Urbanization May Precipitate
    a Water Crisis," Far Eastern Economic Review (June 1, 1995), p. 62.

19. Charles Surjadi et al., Household Environmental Problems in Jakarta
    (Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, 1994), p. 26.

20. Ibid., p. 59.

21. The Jakarta Regional Development Planning Board, Jakarta Our City:
    Improvement in the Standard of Living (The Jakarta Regional
    Development Planning Board, Jakarta, Indonesia, 1985), p. 3.

22. John Silas, "Government-Community Partnerships in Kampung Improvement
    Programmes in Surabaya," Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 4,
    No. 2 (October 1992), pp. 35ţ36.

23. Sheila Tefft, "In Search of Solutions for a Polluted Jakarta,"
    Christian Science Monitor (September 19, 1994), p. 10.

24. Op. cit. 15, p. 91.

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