Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has called on the Jakarta administration to switch to using electric vehicles for mass transportation in a bid to reduce emission of air pollutants in the capital city.

"It should have been started. We have to start it soon, at least for mass transportation, such as buses. I will convey the need for plying electric buses and taxis to the (Jakarta) governor. We already produced electric motorcycles," the president remarked on the sidelines of "Batik Kemerdekaan," an event to commemorate Indonesia's Independence Day held at the MRT station here on Thursday.

On Thursday, at 9 a.m. local time, Jakarta’s air quality index score was recorded at 135, or categorized as unhealthy, with the parameter of PM2.5 and the actual concentration of 59.1 ug/m3 (ppm) based on the US Air Quality Index (AQI).

With this score, Jakarta’s air quality was the world’s second-worst after Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia, with an AQI score of 155, PM2.5, and actual concentration of 64 ug/m3, according to the AirVisual official website.

AirVisual is a real-time global application to measure air quality in a city.

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"The scheme will be decided by the governor on whether it will use electronic road pricing to encourage people to use mass transportation or others," he noted.

However, Jokowi refused to comment on the recommendation for Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan to induce artificial rain as a short-term solution to curb air pollution.

"You should pose this question directly to the governor," he noted.

The Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Jakarta), Greenpeace Indonesia, Walhi (Friends of the Environment), and 31 residents grouped under the "Ibu Kota" movement, an initiative to clean the city's air, have filed a civil lawsuit against seven government institutions to the Central Jakarta District Court on Thursday.

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The lawsuit was based on the citizens' disappointment over poor air quality in the capital city.

The lawsuit is addressed to President Joko Widodo, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar, Health Minister Nila Djuwita F. Moeloek, and Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo as well as the governors of Jakarta, Banten, and West Java.

The group claims them to be ignorant of the citizens' rights to get clean air in Jakarta. The fact that Jakarta still has the worst air pollution indicated the government's failure to take concrete steps to address the problem.

The group has warned of a possible health impact, especially for sensitive persons, and called on Jakartans to wear a mask when they head outdoors. It also advised against cycling.

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Translator: Desca Lidya, Sri Haryati
Editor: Azizah Fitriyanti
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