Jakarta (ANTARA) - Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has asked all community health centers (puskesmas) in Jakarta to routinely measure air quality to bolster air pollution surveillance data in the capital city.

"Starting from next week, I want air quality to be measured every week. From the report, we will be able to know which areas in Jakarta have high air pollution," he said during a car-free day event in Jakarta on Sunday.

If, based on the measurement, the rate of air pollution is high, officers at puskesmas must send the sample to the health laboratory to check the source of the pollution.

Through the surveillance effort, the central government would be able to provide recommendations to regional governments on how to address the sectors that produce the most emissions in Jakarta.

Sadikin noted that there are three main causes of air pollution: transportation, coal-fired power plants, and industries that use coal or other carbon-based fuels.

According to the Ministry of Health, PM2.5—particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less—can cause various respiratory problems.

The top five respiratory diseases are lung cancer, respiratory tract infections (RTIs), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, and tuberculosis (TB).

In 2022, state health insurer BPJS Kesehatan covered Rp10 trillion (around US$653.68 million) for the treatment of those respiratory diseases.

Sadikin appealed to the community to wear masks during outdoor activities to prevent inhaling PM2.5.

He said that the most important step is prevention, and that more people should use public transportation if possible.

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Translator: Sugiharto Purnama, Raka Adji
Editor: Anton Santoso
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