Joint effort with the police department is key to conducting emissions tests effectively in Jakarta and its surrounding areas, expert say.

So far, there has been no update regarding the traffic-ticket fine plan. On several occasions, to find out whether a vehicle had passed the emissions inspection, officers from the Jakarta Transportation Agency and cops would stop it on the street, open the emissions-test application and insert the vehicle registration number.

If the vehicle passed the emission test, the owner can continue on their journey. Those who had yet to get their vehicles inspected were not fined but asked to participate in an emissions test provided by the DLH on-site.

In mid-October 2022, National Police Chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo instructed his personnel to no longer issue manual tickets for traffic offenders as electronic traffic law enforcement (ETLE) was gradually implemented. Street cameras will record traffic violations and automatically send a ticket to the owner’s address.

But it is not yet clear how the ETLE will be applied to vehicle users who violate emissions-inspection regulations. 

Muhammad Shidiq, an air-quality expert, stressed that a joint effort with Polda Metro Jaya is inevitable. “Collaboration with the police department is necessary. It will take a long time to fully implement the regulation because, once again, many people are still not aware [of the importance of getting their vehicles tested for emissions],” said Shidiq. 

Apart from traffic fines, the regulation also mandates the imposition of a high parking fee for vehicles that do not pass and have not undergone emission tests. 

The city government hopes to complete the revision of Governor Regulation Number 120 of 2012 concerning the cost of off-street public parking spaces before fully implementing the policy. To date, only few public parking facilities have enforced the regulation. 

“In order for the highest parking fees to be effective, private parking lots must enforce regulations. Jakarta has 1,328 private parking lots. By contrast, there are only 79 public parking facilities,” said Tiyana Broto Adi, chief of the pollution control section of the Jakarta environment office. 

Furthermore, based on Government Regulation Number 21 of 2021 on the Implementation of Environmental Protection and Management, emissions test results will be used to determine environmental pollution taxes on motor vehicles that exceed emissions standards. 

The tax policy was planned to take effect on 2 February 2023, two years after the regulation’s enactment, but so far it has not been implemented.

Continuous awareness-building and better policymaking 

Reducing air pollution impacts in the transport sector requires public participation. Ardiana from the Nawilis repair shop said that his workplace actively informs customers about emissions-testing services.

“After a tune-up, we usually offer them the emissions test. Their responses varied. Some of them are willing to participate, but others are reluctant,” he said, adding that his company occasionally gives free-of-charge emissions inspections for customers who tune up their car.

Rendra from Astra Honda Motor said that even though his company displayed a banner informing clients about the test, it had not altered the trend. “These days, our customers tend to delay emissions tests,” he said.

Amid the uncertainty regarding traffic fines, Tiyana said that his institution has continued to raise awareness about emissions tests. This is a basis for additional environmental pollution taxes. 

“We keep raising public awareness on this matter by asking the Jakarta Regional Revenue Agency [Bapenda] to help disseminate this information through Videotron,” he said.

Mei, a private employee in South Jakarta who asked to use only her first name, stressed that the city government should do more to increase awareness.

“I frequently receive various information from the neighborhood association head [RT], but never about the obligatory emissions tests. Perhaps the provincial government can collaborate with social media accounts [that have numerous followers] to disseminate this policy,” she said. 

Meanwhile, neighboring areas’ involvement in tackling air pollution in Jakarta is crucial. This is given the city’s target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Nonetheless, the efforts made by the surrounding areas have yet to be on par with Jakarta’s.

“Countless vehicles in Jakarta are owned by people in neighboring cities. However, those cities do not have regulations mandating compulsory emissions tests,” said Shidiq, adding that top-level officials should discuss how to cooperate to integrate their efforts to address this problem.

Technology is crucial to measure air quality. Shidiq pointed out the application of low-cost sensors to monitor air pollution. 

“In Hong Kong, low-cost sensors have been installed on the roads leading to the city center. These devices can help monitor areas with the highest concentrations of pollutants and which locations are passed by the highest number of vehicles,” he explained.

“It can be seen that, for example, the eastern part of the city has a higher pollution level than any other region. Thus, the authorities should prioritize emissions inspections on vehicles from the east region,” he added.

This is part two of a two-part story. Read part one here.

This story was produced with support from Internews’ Earth Journalism Network through the Clean Air Catalyst program, a flagship program launched by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and led by a global partnership of organizations including the World Resources Institute, Environmental Defense Fund, and Internews.

This story was first published in The Jakarta Post on 23 February 2023.

About the writer

Wulan Kusuma Wardhani

Wulan Kusuma Wardhani is a freelance journalist based in Jakarta. While she has a wide variety of interests, she primarily writes about human rights, criminal justice, and gender issues. A number of her...

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