Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Environment and Forestry is urging people to adopt a low-emission lifestyle to improve air quality in urban areas.

The ministry's Director General of Pollution and Environmental Damage Control, Sigit Reliantoro, stated that the primary cause of air pollution in urban areas is the use of conventional vehicles fueled by oil.

"Changing our lifestyle is crucial in urban areas," he said during a discussion held in Jakarta on Sunday.

He explained that developed countries prioritize walking, followed by cycling, using public transportation, and adopting electric vehicles.

This lifestyle, which emphasizes walking and cycling for transportation, benefits both air quality and physical health, he added.

"The key concept in transportation is to increase the movement of people, not just the number of vehicles. Therefore, vehicle efficiency is of utmost importance," Reliantoro emphasized.

In 2020, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Vital Strategies published a report on air pollution emissions in Jakarta.

The transportation sector recorded the highest fuel usage (44 percent), followed by the energy industry (31 percent), housing (14 percent), manufacturing (10 percent), and commercial (1 percent).

"This confirms the theory that street canyons are mainly caused by transportation activities," he observed.

The street canyon effect in urban areas traps air pollution at ground level due to tall buildings blocking the wind. As a result, air quality measurements in urban areas consistently show levels unfavorable for human health.

When an air quality index measurement device is mounted on a building wall, it reflects the air's condition at that specific location and not the overall ambient air quality.

Reliantoro noted that if a vehicle is used by only two people, it emits more pollutants than public transportation used by multiple individuals.

He cited Japan as an example, where walking, cycling, and using trains are prevalent among the population, making it one of the most efficient developed countries in this regard.

"Now, Jakarta has initiated the development of various public facilities such as pedestrian paths, bicycle lanes, improved public transportation, and even JakLingko (public minivans) navigating narrow streets," he said.

He added that these facilities should be embraced to instill a culture similar to that of developed countries.

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Translator: Sugiharto Purnama, Raka Adji
Editor: Anton Santoso
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