Is the air quality good enough to start 'slow living' in Semarang?


nafas Indonesia





English / Indonesia

Who doesn't know Semarang? The capital city of Central Java Province is now a growing destination for tourists due to the city's vast improvement. Lots of vintage buildings, wide streets, and laid-back citizens make Semarang quite associated with the 'slow living' mood. But is the air quality good enough to start slow living in Semarang?

Let's find out together!


Known for its 'tugu muda monument' and 'lawang sewu building', Semarang is one of the cities in Central Java that has had Nafas sensors since July 2022. Currently, there are 5 breath sensors.

⛰️ Semarang’s air quality varies in every area

The following figure depicts the amount of air pollution in five areas in Semarang. Throughout the year, the air quality in Semarang varies by region. The most polluted area is West Semarang, with a PM2.5 count of 39 µg/m3. Ngaliyan residents are relatively more likely to breathe healthier air than other areas 🥰

🫣 Turns out, the average pollution level in Semarang is higher!

Sadly, the average air pollution in Semarang is higher than the average pollution in Jakarta! In the graph, you can see the comparison, with the black line representing air pollution in Jakarta and the blue line representing air pollution in Semarang. Pollution increases regularly every day in both cities, but Semarang's pollution levels surpass Jakarta's quite often. As we can see, the average air quality during 2023 in Semarang was 2 µg/m3 above Jakarta.

Semarang residents should be aware of this high level of air pollution, especially pregnant women, parents with young children, and asthma sufferers! The average June air quality in all areas of Semarang is listed as unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Now we take a peek at three areas in Semarang with high pollution levels: Gunung Pati, West Semarang, and Bongsari 👀

🏘️ Gunung Pati

Located in the highlands with a chilly weather does not make Gunung Pati is pollution-free. An increase in air pollution was seen from February to June 2023. In July, the amount of air pollution fortunately started to decrease, but it was still in the 'Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups' category.

🏘️ Semarang Barat

Pollution levels in West Semarang are relatively higher than in Gunung Pati. This year, there were only 2 months in West Semarang where the average air quality was quite good, January and February.

🏘️ Bongsari


Bongsari has generally better air quality than the two previous areas (Gunung Pati and West Semarang). In this area, there are 4 months of moderately good air quality on average, from January to April. However, the monthly PM2.5 pollution increases significantly in May, consistently 8x above the WHO annual exposure limit (5 µg/m3)!

⚠️ Air pollution in Semarang is high in the morning and at the evening


The frequency of PM2.5 pollution increase was more frequent in the morning and night in June. This can be easily seen from the number of red squares in the morning and night which means 'Unhealthy' air quality. ––learn the meaning of symbols and colors of air quality here. But thankfully, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the air quality gradually improves. We recommend that Semarang residents who want to sunbathe their babies or exercise choose hours with good air quality ☝🏻

⚠️ Considering the bad air quality, Semarang residents with pregnant women and young children should take extra precautions!

Pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with respiratory problems are vulnerable to air pollution. Research shows there is almost no safe limit to PM2.5 pollution for children. A 2019 study in China showed a 4.3% increase in hospitalizations of children for lower respiratory tract infections for every 10 ug/m3 increase in PM2.5 over a 6-day period (Xia et al., 2019). That means air pollution is bad for children's health, no matter how small the exposure 😱🚩

😷 Can we reduce our exposure to air pollution?

We are all aware that air pollution is pervasive and unpredictable. As a result, preventive measures against air pollution should be implemented to reduce the risk of diseases.

✅ Here are some tips you can do to reduce exposure to air pollution:
1. Monitor air quality regularly on the Nafas app
2. If the air quality is poor, avoid outdoor activities.
3. Always wear a mask when going out. [Dr. Citra Amelinda] "Children over 2 years old can wear a mask (cloth mask or disposable mask) that fits over the nose and mouth." - dr. Citra Amelinda]
4. Close doors and windows when air quality is poor. Using an air purifier can help clean the air indoors.