Is Jakarta the Most Polluted City? No, the Answer is South Tangerang!


Kezia Grace





English / Indonesia


  • Serpong dominates with a PM2.5 concentration of 76 ug/m3.
  • The southern area of South Tangerang has 23.5% higher air pollution than the northern area of South Tangerang.
  • Mornings and evenings experience the highest pollution levels in Tangerang Selatan.

Hi, residents of South Tangerang!

Have you checked the air quality in your hometown? In this article, we will be showing you PM2.5 pollution in South Tangerang.

Located 30 kilometers southwest of Jakarta City, South Tangerang started to be developed in the 1980s and, at the moment, has become a city with almost 1.4 million residents. Districts like Serpong, Bintaro, Serpong Utara, Lengkong Wetan, and others were designed to be residential-friendly areas.

Being a densely populated city, air pollution has become a problem in South Tangerang, just like it is in Jakarta (even worse in some places). It's not terrible every day, but on average it's not great.

How bad PM2.5 pollution in South Tangerang?

Jakarta is often highlighted by the media as the most polluted city. However, it is actually South Tangerang that has the highest level of air pollution, according to data from the nafas sensor network!

How is that possible, especially considering there are many residential areas in that region? What makes South Tangerang more polluted than the capital city?

Here, Nafas will set the context of South Tangerang and DKI Jakarta as a comparison.

Since the beginning of the year, the average PM2.5 levels in South Tangerang have consistently been higher than those in DKI Jakarta. The air quality has further deteriorated with a drastic surge in PM2.5 pollution in May-June.

The intriguing thing, however, is that not all South Tangerang is created equal. Nafas data demonstrates that not every region has a worse situation than DKI Jakarta.

The average concentration of PM2.5 in South Tangerang from June 1 to June 22 quite high and the air quality index reaches an unhealthy level. Among all areas in South Tangerang, Serpong dominates with a PM2.5 concentration of 76 ug/m3, nearly 14 times higher than the WHO annual exposure limit of 5 ug/m3.

Furthermore, we discovered differences in air quality between the upper (northern) and lower (southern) areas of South Tangerang. Interestingly, the air quality in southern area of South Tangerang tends to be worse compared to the northern area.

The southern area of South Tangerang has 23.5% higher air pollution than the northern area of South Tangerang. This is often due to differences in wind speed caused by varying wind sources and geographical locations of the two areas.

We attempted to compare it with DKI Jakarta and the results are as follows.

Avoid exercising in the morning

Throughout the month of June, the air quality in South Tangerang remains poor for almost the entire day. However, mornings and evenings experience the highest pollution levels. Most people exercise between 5 - 10 AM because that's when there are "fewer cars" and the "air is fresher".

Turns out, air pollution is terrible at those times.This can occur due to temperature inversion that narrows The Planetary Boundary. The air quality slightly improves between 12:00 and 17:00.

Avoid engaging in outdoor activities during times of high pollution, as we inhale more air (including harmful PM2.5 and other pollutants) while exercising. PM2.5 are extremely small particles that pose a threat to our health as they can be inhaled into our lungs and even enter our bloodstream.

In addition, a study conducted by Seoul National University revealed that adults (aged 25-30) who engage in regular outdoor exercise for 10 years with PM2.5 levels above 26 µg/m3 have a 33% higher risk of developing heart disease compared to those who do not exercise at all. The reality is those numbers show that the PM2.5 in South Tangerang is much higher than 26 μg/m3.

So, how to deal with this situation?

From the data stated above, we can conclude that air pollution is not just a problem in Jakarta. Residents of South Tangerang should be cautious because the air pollution levels in their area often exceed those in Jakarta. Put air pollution into consideration before making plans for outdoor activities.

For those who may be particularly susceptible to the impacts of air pollution, such as youngsters, the elderly, those with lung or heart diseases, and pregnant women, it is especially vital to avoid severe air days.

Try the following suggestions to enjoy the outdoors while reducing your exposure to air pollution:

  1. Download Nafas app and check the air quality regularly.
  2. Set your important locations as favourite for easier monitoring.
  3. Wear a mask, preferably a respirator-type mask like N95, when going outside.
  4. Avoid outdoor activities during periods of high pollution.
  5. Follow other recommended measures, such as closing windows and vents when air quality is poor. Using an air purifier with a HEPA filter can also help clean the indoor air.

✅ By taking these steps, residents can minimize their exposure to air pollution and protect their health.