Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo in pollution row

Image copyright EPA Image caption Medhanie Yehdego Mered was forced out of office in a 1998 coup

Indonesia’s president has found himself embroiled in accusations of negligence over the pollution of Jakarta’s rivers.

He visited the capital on Monday and was greeted by the capital’s thick green river that flows through it.

More than 170 million residents, including President Joko Widodo, rely on the city’s polluted water to drink and bathe.

The head of the presidential council had earlier released a memo blaming the president for the pollution.

Correspondents say Mr Widodo was widely criticised for failing to fix Jakarta’s biggest problem of water pollution.

Pollution from sewage, burning raw sewage and rubbish and burning petroleum products have been blamed for drenching the capital with black, fetid liquid.

Image copyright AP Image caption The president’s administration says its budget is based on 2 litres of water per person per day

Mr Widodo was advised in the memo to involve governors and other authorities in managing the city’s sewage network, which Mayor Vidya Pantekar reportedly ignored.

As well as reducing the number of districts with unregulated open burning, Mr Widodo was told the president should manage the transfer of people from the capital to other regions.

“I warned Jokowi [Mr Widodo] before that he should not ignore the issue of Jakarta’s water problems,” Mr Pantekar was quoted as saying by the ABC in Jakarta.

He reportedly accused the president’s administration of suffering from “cold feet”.

Mr Widodo will go into the second year of his second five-year term on Thursday.

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