Why Is the Air Quality Worse this October Compared to Last Year?


Kezia Grace





English / Indonesia

Entering the last quarter of 2023 signifies the transition from the dry season to the rainy season. This year's prolonged dry season, compared to previous years, has led to severe droughts and an increase in fire incidents across various locations, ranging from forest and land fires, waste disposal site fires, to the common practice of trash burning by the community.

The onset of the rainy season should ideally bring hope for improvement — wells and rivers refilled, fires reduced, and of course, a decrease in air pollution.

However, monitoring by the Nafas team revealed that the air quality in Jabodetabek this October has deteriorated compared to the previous October.

A photo taken on October 22, 2022, in Jakarta showcased clear weather with a blue sky adorned with clouds. Yet, one year later, on October 23, 2023, the sky's condition is starkly different.

What caused this stark contrast in the sky, even though they were taken in almost the same location and time? Is there evidence that the PM2.5 pollution concentration this October is indeed higher than last year? Let's delve into the data from the Nafas sensors!

Air Quality Fluctuates Over Time

Based on the Nafas sensors' data in Jabodetabek between 2022 and 2023, there's a clear fluctuation in monthly air quality. Although the beginning of both years started with good air quality, from May to September, the pollution level surged.

The highlight is the air pollution level in October. Nafas sensor data showed that the average PM2.5 in October 2022 was 34 µg/m3, categorized as moderate. However, in October 2023, the PM2.5 average skyrocketed to 50 µg/m3, increasing by 50%!

When comparing daily PM2.5 concentrations, there's a significant air quality difference between the two years. Last year, Jabodetabek residents enjoyed better air, but this year, unfortunately, that wasn't the case.

Thus, throughout October 2023, the residents of Jabodetabek were more frequently exposed to unhealthy air.

Factors Leading to Better Air Quality Last October

One of the primary factors that contributed to better air quality in October 2022 was the wind. According to Nafas team's data, cyclonic activities were more dominant that year.

Satellite maps showed strong winds from the Southwest in October 2022. This year, the wind direction and speed in Jabodetabek are more varied and not as focused as the previous year, leading to pollutant accumulation.

☝🏻 Stay alert, air quality can change rapidly. Protect yourself from air pollution exposure!