Pollution in Jakarta is an issue and unfortunately won’t go away anytime soon. Exposure to pollution has direct consequences on health, so I keep an eye on the US Consulate air quality index throughout the day here and here (as pollution levels can vary widely within few hours).
The index is pretty simple :
- 0-50 is Good
- 50 – 100 is Moderate
- 100 – 150 is Unhealthy for sensitive groups
- 150 – 200 is Unhealthy
- 200 and above – is Very unhealthy to hazardous
Central Jakarta is usually between 50 (on a very good day) and 200 (on a very bad day) and I would usually keep the kids at home if the index is above 150. That is only useful if indoor air quality is better than outdoors, yet many people ignore that many harmful sources can impact the air in our home: inadequate humidity levels (which makes for breeding ground for molds or fungi), poor air circulation, ventilation system issues, use of harmful chemicals, dusts…
The most efficient way to improve indoor air is to use air purifiers. If you decide to make that purchase, do some due diligence because:
- more expensive doesn’t always mean better
- different purifiers have different capacities so make sure the purifier is adapted to the room size
- if you are coming from overseas, check whether you will be able to find replacement filters (we brought our BlueAir purifiers from China and have no problem finding filters here)
For China residents, this website is useful.
Nowadays many devices can monitor the air quality in our home. We had this one from our time in China and it can also be bought here in Jakarta (shop here).
Beside using air purifiers, here are some simple tips to improve air quality in your home:
- keep all windows sealed whenever the air is bad
- but keep an eye on the air quality index and ventilate your home whenever possible (ideally daily) to renew the indoor air
- keep air cons and air filters as clean as possible
- minimize chemical pollutants (smoking, harsh household products, house renovation chemicals such as paint, glue…)
- keep everything clean to avoid dust, dust mites… (wash beddings weekly at 60 degrees Celsius, keep shoes outside)
- control moisture (ex: repair leaks promptly, don’t overwater indoor plants to avoid mold)
- use plants
Some plants act as natural air purifiers (more info here) and many of the best performing plants can easily be found in Jakarta.
Areca Palm Tree
To read the Indonesia translation, click here