Indonesia steps up action against President Joko Widodo

Image copyright ABS The Department of Business Studies has formally notified Indonesian President Joko Widodo of the government’s intent to ask him to take responsibility for the country’s air pollution crisis, in the wake of …

Image copyright ABS

The Department of Business Studies has formally notified Indonesian President Joko Widodo of the government’s intent to ask him to take responsibility for the country’s air pollution crisis, in the wake of the World Health Organization’s decision to take him off a list of officially declared “persons of concern”.

The declaration means Indonesia can add Mr Widodo and two ministers to the list of 39 mostly South East Asian high-profile figures, who the WHO said should be held accountable for deadly air pollution – for failing to take “action which could help mitigate the adverse health impacts of ambient air pollution.”

Environmental campaigner Yayat Supriadi on the title of the Indonesia Minister and President, has been published on the government’s website.

“The Ministry of Business and Tourism deems that the President and the Ministers appointed to their respective posts at the beginning of President Widodo’s tenure are fully responsible for the failed efforts to tackle air pollution in the country,” it reads.

“… Issues of air pollution, including mountain-leading haze, are real and currently a source of health problems.”

The government has already fined and banned some industrial sectors in a bid to stop Indonesia’s fires from burning and choking the country’s air with toxic chemicals.

Mr Joko was also recently targeted for a negative Emmy.

“A lot of people speak with disdain about the President. This was an important announcement, I want to applaud the Deputy Minister for Business and Tourism and note that he is leading the effort to combat air pollution,” said Mr Supriadi.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Indonesian President Joko Widodo has faced criticism for failing to act against dangerous levels of smog

Indonesia’s unique landscape makes it particularly vulnerable to forest fires.

Smoke from forest fires is the leading cause of air pollution in the country and regional haze is carried by winds across vast areas of Indonesia, affecting Indonesia’s neighbors, such as Singapore and Malaysia.

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