Living outside Jakarta means we’re safe from air pollution: Is this true?


nafas team





English / Indonesia

The poor air quality in DKI Jakarta has made us think that Jakarta and air pollution are two things that are, arguably, inseparable, right? We all know that DKI Jakarta often has the poorest air quality in Indonesia. Some media have also highlighted the Indonesian capital as the City with the Worst Air Quality in the World.

However, are there no other cities that are just as bad, or perhaps worse than the capital?

Let's take a look at the deployment of Nafas sensors in Jakarta and two other metropolitan cities: Bandung and Surabaya!

Many other cities are no less polluted! This is shown by the many orange and red sensors, which respectively indicate that the air quality is unhealthy for everyone, especially the sensitive ones. Some spots are even purple, indicating very unhealthy air (learn the color meaning of the breath sensor spots here).

Bandung, a well-known fresh and chilly town, is a popular tourist destination for DKI Jakarta residents to enjoy the weekend. However, the word ‘fresh’ does not define ‘health’ in terms of its air quality. Bandung has been a city with consistently worse air quality than DKI Jakarta since 2022. Why is that happening?

Let's take a look at the air pollution data by Nafas’ sensor in Bandung!

The graph above is the air pollution data recorded by the first Nafas’ sensor in Bandung that has been installed since September 2021. Currently, 10 Nafas’ sensors have been installed in Bandung.

Now, let's take a look at the air pollution data by Nafas’ sensor in the other city: Surabaya!

The first Nafas’ sensor in Surabaya was installed two years ago, in September 2021, just like it was in Bandung. Now, the number has increased to 15 sensors.

Next, let's take a deeper look at the following air pollution data comparison at DKI Jakarta, Greater Bandung, and Surabaya for the year 2022 and 2023!

If we review the breath data throughout 2023 based on the graph above, the air quality between Jakarta, Bandung, and Surabaya looks fairly fluctuating. In fact, it shows that air pollution levels in Bandung and Surabaya often outrank Jakarta.

This is a comparative trend of air pollution between DKI Jakarta, Bandung, and Surabaya in 2022 and 2023. Bandung and Surabaya were also both dominated by unhealthy air for sensitive groups last year. Many areas in Bandung have PM2.5 levels higher than the average pollution concentration in DKI Jakarta. If you look at the trend from 2022, it turns out that Bandung's air quality is much worse than Jakarta and Surabaya for two years straight!

Fresh and cool air doesn't mean healthy and clean air

It turns out that Bandung residents have been inhaling bad air more often than Jakarta and Surabaya residents since 2022. From the data measured by the breath sensor, we can understand how Bandung, a city known for its cool and fresh air, has become the number one city with poor air quality, followed by Jakarta and Surabaya.

From the Nafas’ data above, we can safely state that air pollution is not a problem that only occurs in Jakarta. Bandung, Surabaya, and other cities can also have higher levels of pollution.

There are at least four things we can do to reduce our exposure to air pollution, especially if we are going to do outdoor activities:

  1. Check the air quality in your neighborhood regularly through the Nafas app.
  2. Wear a mask when going out
  3. Stay home when outdoor air quality is bad
  4. Follow other Nafas recommendations based on the air quality listed on the Nafas app