Update COVID-19 in Indonesia: 1,769,940 confirmed infections, 49,205 deaths (22 May 2021)
7 June 2021 (closed)
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Those who’ve ever visited Indonesia should be well aware that the country is facing some serious environmental issues, with the underlying reason seemingly being low environmental awareness among the inhabitants of this beautiful country. Such low awareness is actually something that seems commonly shared among the people in developing nations, hinting that there exists a link between the level of per capita gross domestic product and the level of concern for the environment.
This link seems plausible, indeed. Once you have enough money to buy food or other items, live in a comfortable house, are able to send your children to school, and have access to medical services, then it should become much easier to start caring for the environment compared to a situation in which you are struggling to make ends meet each day (this also explains why opposition to oil palm cultivation is quite limited in Indonesia itself, while Westerners can be very critical of this issue).
On a personal note, I lived in Jakarta, Indonesia’s overcrowded and chaotic capital city, for more than seven years. The pollution was a major problem. I could not open the windows of my apartment unit because you would need to breathe in all car and motorcycle exhaust gasses originating from the busy traffic on the roads around the apartment (which included a toll road). Only on those rare occasions where I had to leave the unit around 04:00 am in the morning (for example to catch a flight), I could encounter some fresh air outside.
Having witnessed the daily traffic congestion – with millions of cars and motorcycles polluting the environment – from behind my apartment windows, I can only hope that the electric vehicle (EV) becomes an instant success. However, for Indonesia, a new problem looms in case its streets are filled with EVs, namely that the country’s electricity generation remains heavily dependent on coal as power source; and this is a situation that is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future since coal is cheap, easy to extract, and abundantly available in Indonesia. So, the question is what the net advantage will be for the environment when there is a serious reduction in the number of fossil fuel vehicles on the roads, but a big increase in the consumption of electricity that is generated in (mostly) coal-fired power plants.
Another example of environmental issues in Indonesia is the enormous plastic waste problem. Littering seems the norm rather than the exception. Around two years ago, Indonesia Investments covered this topic in great detail (our March 2019 edition). An interesting quote from that article is the following one: “Indonesia is currently estimated to produce over 190,000 tons of waste each day, the majority (around 57 percent) of which is organic waste. Plastic is estimated to contribute around 25,000 tons per day to total waste, of which – at least – 20 percent is believed to end up in the country’s rivers and coastal waters.” That explains why you will find plastic waste almost everywhere across Indonesia.
Since moving to Yogyakarta (having left Jakarta in mid-2020), I love to walk around the rice fields near my house, but – unfortunately – at the sides of these rice fields it is full of plastic bags, plastic bottles and other plastic packaging. Or another example. There is a beautiful ‘tropical river’ near my house (with on one side tropical forest, and on the other side houses of the district I live in). Unfortunately, this river seems to be used as a garbage dump; plastic is everywhere (see the picture below).
However, at least, we have fresh air in Yogyakarta (fortunately I live outside the city center as traffic congestion has become an increasingly big problem in recent years, especially in Yogya’s city center). So, one of the biggest advantages compared to my time in Jakarta is that I can now open my windows and enjoy the breeze. No more ‘air-conditioned lifestyle’ required at home.
In this article, I discuss what the Indonesian government’s ambitions are in terms of the environment, particularly the interrelated issues of global warming and climate change, and whether these ambitions are realistic. First, however, I will devote some words on the importance to remain factual and rational when dealing with the topics of climate change and global warming. Considering these topics are especially used by the ‘globalist left’ (which has been showing growing signs of radicalization over the past years) for their political agenda in the United States (US) and European Union (EU), and their ideology is passed on to the public via (uncritical) mainstream media, one can correctly assume that factuality and rationality take a backseat.
Nonetheless, it is certainly of vital importance that mankind starts treating Mother Nature with much more respect; something that is not in the interest of planet Earth (which has the capacity and power to adapt and survive basically anything), but in the interest of all species living on planet Earth, including the human race.
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