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Collaborative efforts launched in Jakarta to counter air pollution crisis

In response to Jakarta’s worsening air pollution crisis, the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) teams up with various agencies for Weather Modification Technology (WMT) efforts.

Directed by Indonesian President Jokowi, these operations involve cloud seeding and rain enhancement techniques to combat pollution’s impacts. Operations span cities like Bandung and Semarang, targeting different seasons for maximum effect.



INDONESIA:  Amid Jakarta’s escalating air pollution crisis, the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) joins forces with diverse entities to implement Weather Modification Technology (WMT) solutions.

Collaborating partners encompass the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), the Indonesian National Army (TNI), and the Indonesian National Police (Polri).

This initiative follows the directive of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) to tackle the air pollution crisis gripping the Jabodetabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, Bekasi) region.

The WMT operations, involving cloud seeding and rain enhancement techniques, are designed to alleviate the adverse impacts of air pollution.

Abdul Muhari, the Head of the Data, Information, and Communication Center for Disaster Management at BNPB, revealed that the rain modification operations were carried out from 19 to 21 August.

He emphasized that the operations would persist as per the president’s instructions.

The WMT operations extend beyond Jakarta, encompassing other cities such as Bandung and Semarang.

“These operations already started from the 19th to the 21st of August. And it will continue from the 24th of August to the 2nd of September 2023, in accordance with the rain cloud availability prediction by BMKG,” stated Muhari in a statement in Jakarta on Wednesday (23 Aug).

Muhari underscored the necessity of weather modification operations to combat the surging air pollution, particularly during the dry season.

He explained that during the rainy season, rain enhancement techniques involve inducing rainfall in certain areas to reduce the intensity of precipitation in specific regions and mitigate flooding.

Conversely, in the dry season, the operations are geared towards moistening the land, extinguishing wildfires, and replenishing water reserves in lakes, reservoirs, and ponds.

Air pollution crisis in Jakarta.

However, Muhari acknowledged that the adverse effects of pollution become more pronounced during the peak of the dry season in August and September 2023 due to the absence of regular rainfall.

He compared this situation to earlier in the year when frequent rain events facilitated the removal of particulate matter from the air. The lack of flushing during the dry season contributes to heightened air pollution.

Long-term strategies in progress to address air pollution

Muhari reassured the public that the government is formulating long-term strategies to address air pollution.

He acknowledged that certain regions, mainly those below the equator, faced challenges in implementing weather modification due to the absence of cloud formation.

He cited various areas, including parts of Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Papua, and certain regions of Java, Bali, and Nusa Tenggara, where cloud scarcity hindered cloud seeding efforts.

“The absence of rain cloud growth makes weather modification difficult to perform, considering that the modification technique utilizes salt dispersed onto the clouds. Regions below the equator lack clouds entirely.

These are the conditions that hinder us, for instance when we want to replenish reservoirs along Java to ensure the availability of clean water for the community through WMT,” he explained. ”

We know WMT can work by seeding salt onto clouds. But if there are no clouds, we cannot induce rainfall,” he added.

Despite these challenges, the government remains committed to finding solutions for air pollution.

The Head of the Jakarta Environmental Agency (Dinas Lingkungan Hidup or DLH), Asep Kuswanto, confirmed that while WMT operations have generated rain in peripheral Jakarta regions like Tangerang Selatan, Depok, and Bogor, the capital city itself has not experienced similar results due to the absence of clouds.

To tackle this, the DLH Jakarta is collaborating with BMKG and BRIN to explore alternative measures to combat air pollution, including installing generators in various buildings across the city.

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