Indonesia has become one of the world’s worst air quality countries in a few years. Huge forest fires and new coal-fired power plants contribute to the pollution.
That is the conclusion of a new study by researchers at the University of Chicago.
20 years ago, Indonesia was one of the best air quality countries in the world. Then the pollution increased, and especially after 2013, the situation has deteriorated rapidly.
Today, only a few countries have poorer air quality than Indonesia – the world’s most populous Muslim country with over 260 million inhabitants.
“Big air pollution now undermines the health of the Indonesians,” said researchers Michael Greenstone and Qing Fan.
On the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, they estimate that, on average, the pollution shortens the lives of residents by as much as four years.
Both islands are among the areas in Indonesia that are hit almost every year by extensive forest fires. Many of the fires are started by farmers and agricultural companies who want to clear new land, and the fire easily comes out of control.
In addition to local pollution, the fires also lead to enormous emissions of greenhouse gases that reinforce global warming.
Other causes of air pollution in Indonesia are several cars and new coal-fired power plants – which also cause large emissions of the greenhouse gas CO2.