Coal Dust Poses Health Hazard for North Jakarta's Residential Flat

25 November 2022 13:36 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The coal dust pollution contaminating North Jakarta’s Marunda flats has yet to subside and continues to pose health hazards for hundreds of residents living nearby. This pollution was previously pinned down as the byproduct of industrial activities from Cilincing’s coastal area, prompting the Jakarta environment agency to revoke the permit of one company blamed for the pollution. 

Nurhadi, a resident of the flat’s Block D1 says that the coal dust returned again at least a month ago and would worsen when strong coastal winds blow into the residential area. “It was roughly one month ago,” he recalled on November 24. 

He said health effects are evident as many residents complained that the dust causes constant eye irritation, breathing difficulties, and skin itches. 

The worse effects were felt by his neighbor living at Block B Fatimah, who said the coal dust pollution caused severe skin rashes. “It causes itches throughout my body. Rashes are emerging as I can’t stand not scratching it,” said Fatimah who added that nearly every resident in the flat experiences the same health problem. 

She insisted that this dust is different from normal dust as its color is densely black and would suddenly amass into a heap of dust. “I would sweep the dust from the floor in the morning but would pile up again in the afternoon,” she said. 

Based on Tempo’s observation at the Marunda flats, the dust feels as if it pierces the eyes when it is blown by strong winds. Tempo also observed residents’ constant sweeping amidst normal activities. 

The Jakarta Environmental Department (DLH) spokesperson Yogi Ikhwan said the agency has installed a mobile Air Quality Monitoring Station (SPKU) in the Marunda area as a form of monitoring coal dust pollution. However, he was unsure why the dust pollution had occurred again.

"Next week [we’ll provide answers], we are waiting for the results of the evaluation of the mobile SPKU monitoring that has been installed there, the analysis is still not out," he said.

ALIYYU MEDYATI | INTERN

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