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Air Pollution Top 5 Causes of Death in Indonesia, Says Expert

25 August 2023 21:31 WIB

TEMPO.CO, JakartaAgus Dwi Susanto, Professor of Pulmonology and Respiratory Medicine at the University of Indonesia’s (FKUI) Faculty of Medicine, disclosed that air pollution is among the top five causes of death in the country, accounting for 123,000 deaths each year.

“Air pollution has a fairly high impact on the mortality rate in Indonesia,” Agus said in a webinar titled "The Impact of Air Pollution on Health" in Jakarta, on Thursday, August 25, 2023.

Agus said air pollution is the country’s fifth leading cause of death after hypertension, diabetes, smoking, and obesity. 

In the short term, he explained that air pollution can cause mucous membrane irritation, resulting in symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, then coughing, and phlegm, which can lead to acute respiratory infections (ARI), pneumonia, asthma attacks, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

In the long term, extremely poor air quality can cause decreased lung function, tuberculosis, asthma, COPD, and lung cancer.

Agus cited a study by FKUI that an increase in Particulate Matter or PM 2.5, an increase in sulfur dioxide (SO2), and PM 10 in the air is associated with an increasing risk of pneumonia starting from 1.4 percent to 6.7 percent.

From January 2023 to date, there have been more than 100,000 cases of acute respiratory infections (ISPA) per month, higher than the number in previous years. “So it is significant that when the pollutant increases, the average ISPA cases are also above 100,000,” Agus outlined.

He went on to reveal that when PM 2.5 increased, teleconsultation visits for bronchitis and influenza also soared between 100 and 400 percent.

“Studies show that teleconsultations for asthma increase by 200 percent when there is an increase in pollutants in June,” he added.

In addition, the prevalence of asthma among adolescents in Jakarta reached 12 percent, while in rural areas it was only around 7 percent.

Therefore, he asked the public to keep monitoring air quality, reduce outdoor activity, avoid physical activity when air quality is poor, and wear a mask when outdoor activity is unavoidable.

ANTARA

Editor's Choice: Jakarta Records Soaring Number of ISPA after Pandemic

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