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Indonesia gears up to combat air pollution ahead of ASEAN summit

Indonesia is gearing up to combat air pollution ahead of the 43rd summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), scheduled in the capital city of Jakarta early next month.

The current severe air pollution in Jakarta, one of the most polluted regions of the world, has led to increasing health problems among the public, reports Xinhua news agency.

There have been increasing cases of acute respiratory infections since early this year caused by air pollution, the Health Ministry said on Monday.

Agus Dwi Susanto, who heads the Ministry’s respiratory disease control, said that in 2022 the monthly average number of cases related to acute respiratory infections in Jakarta and its surrounding cities was under 100,000.

“Between January and this month, it has shockingly been above 100,000,” he said, adding that only in August his office recorded some 200,000 cases.

Susanto called on the public who have outdoor activities with a duration of more than eight hours to always wear anti-pollution masks.

Last week, investigators with the country’s Environment and Forestry Ministry took legal action against people and businesses that contribute to air pollution in the city.

Meanwhile, the Jakarta administration and city police recently dispatched fire trucks to spray water on major roads across the capital, saying that it would wash away dust and other pollutants that contribute to air pollution.

The city administration has called on government institutions as well as private businesses to implement work-at-home scheme particularly during the summit.

On Monday, Indonesia launched its autonomous light rail transit train to reduce traffic congestion and pollution in the highly populated capital Jakarta.

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