Going on 17 Years, Car Free Day in Indonesia Far From Success to Reduce Air Pollution, Activists Slam.

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Foto : pxphere.com

Jakarta (Greeners) – Despite of being 17 years implementation of Car Free Day every Sunday, green activist said that the event has failed to serve its main purpose, to tackle air pollution in the city.

Instead, the event which initially aimed to reduce public dependency on private vehicles, to improve air quality in Jakarta, and to shift urbanites lifestyle to more environmentally friendly, is turning into a pop-up market run by local government.

Ahmad Safrudin, director executive of Lead Gasoline Eradication Committee and initiator of Car Free Day in 2002, said that the essence of CFD as the media to inform public to reduce private vehicle use and opt for walking, biking or using public transportation has failed.

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“Rather than have improved air quality after Car Free Day, instead smoke and pollution are increasing because of the mobile driver’s license extension, satay vendors, bread vendors, noodles and meatballs and other street vendors,” said Safrudin in Jakarta on Wednesday (18/06/2019). “If only the event successful, marked by increasing pedestrians, people biking and using mass transportation, it will be effective to reduce air pollution.”

Furthermore, he said that the ineffective CFD is because it has not truly implementing the 2016 Governor Regulation and local officials don’t understand the philosophy and essence of car free day in the first place.

“From 2001 to 2005 which we, NGOs such as KPBB, WALHI Jakarta, Pelangi, Bike2Work and others, managed the event. In 2004, we included local government as one of the organizers through the 2005 Regional Regulation on Air Pollution Control. The government started to handle the event on September 2007. Unfortunately, it was not managed properly,” he said.

Putut Sudaryanto, head of Bike2Work Indonesia, an NGO which pulled off from CFD because it’s no longer in line with initial aims, said that public are not aware that the real goal ofnCFD, hence they are still using private vehicles to reach the venue. In addition, there are even more parking lots reserved near CFD areas.

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“This is not what’s targeted in the beginning. We consider that the event is not trying to reach the initial goal Hence, as part of B2W Indonesia, we decide to pull ourselves out from CFD Indonesia,” said Sudaryanto.

Nevertheless, Djoko Rianto, head of public participation at DKI Jakarta Environmental Agency, defended the event stating that it has attract micro business as positive result.

“It serves as a place to interact, as a source of income for several citizens, for sports, and for micro business. In addition, we still think that CFD is an effective way to reduce pollution. Generally, pollution level on Sunday on CFD is decreasing,” he said.

World Environment Day on June 5th take on air pollution as this year’s theme under the hashtag #BeatAirPollution. The global action is run by United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

Reports by Dewi Purningsih.