Category Archives: Environment

Towards greener maritime industry

September saw the commemoration of several international days to raise environmental awareness, from the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies that fell on the 7th, International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer on 16th, and World Maritime Day on the 24th.

Archipelago Strategic & Partners Indonesia (ASPI), an environmental management consulting that has helped local organizations to implement ISO 14001:2015 standard in environmental management, celebrated the month by campaigning on the importance of business sustainability on grounds of environmental protection and circular economy.

Go to ASPI portfolio to learn more of their works in making Indonesia a sustainable place for business investment by conforming to ISO’s environmental management standard.

Energy efficiency of shipping

International shipping transports more than 80 per cent of global trade to peoples and communities all over the world. Shipping is the most efficient and cost-effective method of international transportation for most goods; it provides a dependable, low-cost means of transporting goods globally, facilitating commerce and helping to create prosperity among nations and peoples.

The world relies on a safe, secure and efficient international shipping industry, which is an essential component of any programme for future sustainable green economic growth in a sustainable manner.

The promotion of sustainable shipping and sustainable maritime development is one of the major priorities of International Maritime Organization (IMO) in the coming years. Therefore, energy efficiency, new technology and innovation, maritime education and training, maritime security, maritime traffic management and the development of the maritime infrastructure: the development and implementation of global standards covering these and other issues will underpin IMO’s commitment to provide the institutional framework necessary for a green and sustainable global maritime transportation system.

See also: ISO 14001:2015 environmental management system development and certification of a dredging company PT Global Jaya Maritimindo by ASPI

Ships release anchor at Jakarta International Container Terminal. Photo courtesy of think archipelago.

The theme for this year’s World Maritime Day is Sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet which provides an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The shipping industry has already started the transition towards this sustainable future with the adoption of measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the sulphur content of ships’ fuel oil, implement the Ballast Water Management Convention, protect the polar regions, reduce marine litter, and improve the efficiency of shipping through the electronic exchange of information.

Ozone layer protection

World Ozone Day has been celebrated since 1994, when the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed on 16 September the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, commemorating the date, in 1987, on which the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed.

The day is mainly intended to spread awareness of the depletion of the Ozone Layer and search for solutions to preserve it. 




Indonesia SDGs road map for clean, blue sky

Encouraged by the increasing interest of the international community in clean air, and emphasizing the need to make further efforts to improve air quality, including reducing air pollution, to protect human health, the General Assembly of the United Nations decided to designate 7 September as the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies.

Аir pollution is the single greatest environmental risk to human health and one of the main avoidable causes of death and disease globally, with some estimated 6.5 million premature deaths across the world in 2016 attributed to indoor and outdoor air pollution. 

Particularly in developing countries, air pollution disproportionately affects women, children and the elderly, especially in low-income populations as they are often exposed to high levels of ambient air pollution and indoor air pollution from cooking and heating with wood fuel and kerosene.

Аir pollution is a global problem with far-reaching impacts owing to its transport over long distances. In the absence of aggressive intervention, the number of premature deaths resulting from ambient air pollution is estimated to be on track to increase by more than 50 per cent by 2050.

Society bears a high cost of air pollution due to the negative impacts on the economy, work productivity, healthcare costs and tourism, among others. Hence, the economic benefits of investing in air pollution control cannot be overestimated, and it must be understood that there is also an economic rationale to act and that cost-effective solutions exist to address air pollution.

Poor air quality is a challenge in the context of sustainable development for all countries, in particular in cities and urban areas in developing countries, with levels of air pollution that are higher than the limits set out in the WHO air quality guidelines. 

Some air pollutants, such as black carbon, methane and ground-level ozone, are also short-lived climate pollutants and are responsible for a significant portion of air pollution-related deaths, as well as impacts on crops and hence food security, so their reduction has co-benefits for the climate.

International Day of Clean Air for blue skies

UN Member States recognize the need to substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination by 2030, as well as to reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management by 2030.

Clean air is important for the health and day-to-day lives of people, while air pollution is the single greatest environmental risk to human health and one of the main avoidable causes of death and disease globally. Air pollution disproportionately affects women, children and older persons, and also has a negative impact on ecosystems.

Today, the international community acknowledges that improving air quality can enhance climate change mitigation and that climate change mitigation efforts can improve air quality.

Read also: ASPI business and management consulting service of ISO 14001:2015 environmental management system development and certification.

A view of Jakarta on a sunny afternoon. Photo courtesy of think archipelago.

Clean Air and Sustainable Development Goals

In the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, entitled the future we want, Indonesia, among many countries committed to promoting sustainable development policies that support healthy air quality in the context of sustainable cities and human settlements. Also, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which outlines a road map to achieving sustainable development, environmental protection and prosperity for all, recognizes that air pollution abatement is important to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

In Indonesia Energy Outlook 2018, Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (2018), primary energy mix in Indonesia is still dominated by fossil fuel and coal which account for 38% and 30% of total primary energy in 2016. The use of new renewable energy (NRE) continues to increase but still not realized at its full potential and lag behind other traditional sources of energy such as coal and fossil fuel.

Presently, the main supplies of NRE in Indonesia come from hydropower, then followed by biomass, geothermal, and biodiesel. These sources of power have not been developed optimally due to various constraints such as high initial investment costs, geographical location, and low efficiency.

With the current pace of NRE development, the government target of NRE mix at 23% in 2025 is difficult to achieve. A study by the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology in 2018 estimates NRE proportion to total primary energy will only reach 12.9% in 2025 and 14.9% in 2050.

More ambitious policies and a comprehensive NRE program that include stakeholders both from the demand and supply sides have to be implemented in order to accelerate renewable energy mix in Indonesia.

Policy direction 2020-2024

  1. Increasing the utilization of new renewable energy (NRE) to generate electricity
    • Development of an NRE-based small electric power energy system for supplying electric power in regions tha他are not covered by grid expansion
    • Budget allocation for the NRE infrastructures development for villages that will not be electrified sustainably for a long-term use
    • Establishment of an NRE’s separate business entity that mandated by the government to develop, utilize, and/or purchase NRE;
    • Increasing the role of the private sector incentive-based policy to encourage investment in NRE
    • Regulatory reform to maximize citizens’ participation in NRE development,
    • Designing an NRE development plan that feasible to implement.
  2. Reviewing the utilization of nuclear power plants
    • Conducting research on nuclear power plants development which takes account economic and safety factors
    • Designing a roadmap for nuclear power plants implementation as the last option of national energy development priorities
    • Preparing the regulatory and institutional needs of nuclear power plants implementation
    • Preparing to master nuclear power plants technology
  3. Accelerate the implementation of geothermal energy
    • Preparing geothermal fields as the new geothermal mining plant
    • Perfecting the mechanism of tender procurements in geothermal infrastructures development and accelerating the biddings for new geothermal mining plant
    • Creating fiscal and non-fiscal incentives system to reduce the risk of geothermal exploration.
  4. Increasing biofuels utilization
    • Conversion from fossil fuels to biofuels use in the transportation and manufacturing sectors, and power plants
    • Provision of special land for energy gardens,
    • Development of potential commodities/superior varieties aside from food needs
    • Improvement of biofuel off-taker mechanism (market guarantee), including standardizations, subsidies, and raw material prices, as well as biofuels’ selling prices
  5. Improving the quality and potency of new renewable energy data
    • Quality and quantity increase of water energy potential survey, bioenergy, solar, and wind
    • Implementation of current potential survey, tide an difference in ocean layer temperature, and other NREs.

Policy direction 2025-2030

  1. Increasing the utilization of new renewable energy (NRE)
    • Strengthening the development of smart grid system
    • Budget enforcement for the NRE infrastructures development
    • National industry development to support NRE power plants construction
  2. Developing nuclear power plants utilization
    • Increasing the national capacity in the field of nuclear power use safety
    • Preparing pre-feasibility academic studies as a basis to make a decision on the planning of nuclear power plant development
    • Preparation of nuclear power plants development
  3. Increasing investment in the NRE sector
    • Strengthening the role of NRE business entities
    • Promoting investment in NRE sector
    • Polishing NRE’s financing schemes
    • Refining price schemes of NRE-powered electricity
  4. Develop new technologies for the progress of new and renewable energy
    • Technology development and innovation of equipment/machinery/transportation facilities of biofuels;
    • Technology development and utilization innovations of new energy


  1. United Nations International Day of Clean Air for blue skies 7 September. 2020.
  2. Indonesia Energy Outlook 2018, Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology. 2018.
  3. Roadmap of SDGs Indonesia: Highlight, Indonesia Secretariat for Sustainable Development Goals, Ministry of National Development Planning/National Development Planning Agency. 2018.


Sustainable maritime industry rules

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), ruling by consensus of its 170 members, regulates the increase of energy efficiency and reduction in emissions.

The regulations require new ships to have 10 per cent increased efficiency by 2015. Developing countries, including Liberia and Panama, the two largest ship registries, can apply for a waiver until 2019. Now shipping continues to grow more, along with its emission.

IMO calls maritime transport a relatively small contributor to atmospheric emission compared to aviation or road transport. But combined, they are still second to a billion tons of carbon a year and nearly 4 per cent of greenhouse gases emitted by the maritime industry, due to its enormous size.

On a book Ninety Nine Per Cent of Everything (2013), author George Rose outlined that a giant ship can emit as much pollution into the atmosphere as coal-fired power plant. In 2009, it was calculated that the largest fifteen ships could be emitting as much as 760 million cars. For decades nobody noticed that, if added, shipping ranked sixth among the list of polluting countries. Ships create more pollution than Germany.

Ships burn bunker fuel, which takes its name from the coal bunkers it used to be stored in. Bunker, the real name is Residual Fuel Oil, is still the cheapest of all types, but dirty. It is unrefined that a person can walk on it at room temperature. Even the spokesperson for Intertanko, an association of independent tanker owners, calls it “crud” and “one step from asphalt.”

Burning bunker fuel releases into the atmosphere gases and particulate matter, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, sulfur dioxide, black carbon, and particulate organic matter.

Read also: ASPI professionals help maritime organizations develop ISO 14001:2015 environmental management system

There are many environmental rules to follow in the ocean. SOLAS requires shipping to prevent, reduce, and control pollution of the marine environment from any source. MARPOL, which entered into force in 1983 and has been ratified by 136 countries, has rules that govern the discharge of oil, garbage, and sewage.

Paper, for instance, can be discharged twelve miles out, but plastic is never permitted. Sewage sludge can also be dicharged twelve miles out, and it also applies to cruise ships, which can carry six thousand people.

Sewage can add to ocean nitrification and the vastly increasing number of dead zones where excessive nutrients-present in sewage and agricultural runoff-have sucked ocygen from the sea, creating anoxic zones where fish and other life can no longer live. In 2003, there were 146 ocean dead zones. Five years later 400.

Dredging equipment Split Barge GJ 501 off Sulawesi Sea, Indonesia.

As an IMO member council, Indonesia is committed to play an active role in marine pollution prevention in national and international waters alike. Coinciding with the implementation of new fuel regulation by 1 January 2020, Indonesian government mandates Indonesian flag ships and international ships to use 0.50% m/m sulphur concentration limit in fuel to reduce the amount of sulphur oxide emanating from ships and should have major health and environmental benefits for the world, particularly for populations living close to ports and coasts.

In addition, the country’s sea transportation authorities issued a decree in October 2019 mandating the use of low-sulphur fuel and the gas exhaust management in Sea Transportation Directorate General Decree NoSE.35/2019.

The regulatory umbrella derives from the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL Convention) Annex VI Regulation 14, IMO Resolution Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) 307(73) : 2018 Guidelines for the Discharge of Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Bleed-Off Water, and on national level, the Indonesian Transportation Ministerial Regulation No. 29/2014 on Maritime Environment Pollution Prevention.

Researcher at the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Daniel Lack , was aboard the NOAA research vessel Ronald H. Brown in the Gulf of Mexico in 2006, testing an instrument he had built that could measure black carbon in the atmosphere.

Lack found that there is such a large amount of particle emissions.

He learned that bunker fuel burns inefficiently. The more inefficiently a fuel burns, the more black carbon particles are emitted. Only forest fires produce more black carbon than bunker fuel. Bunker fuel can have a sulfur content of up to 45,000 parts per million (ppm), Low-sulfur diesel for cars is supposed eto contain 10 ppm.

Modeling studies led by James Corbett, a marine policy professor at the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, produced a startling data in 2007: shipping emission of particulate matter accounted for approximately 60,000 cardiopulmonary and lung cancer deaths annually. 70 per cent of the pollution occurs within 250 miles of land, near coastlines linked to busy shipping lanes in Europe, East Asia, and South Asia. In Los Angeles, half of all smog from sulfur dioxide comes in from ships.

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol did not even consider ships, as they focused on aviation and cars. The IMO did not anounce a timetable of meetings to deal with greenhouse gases in shipping until 2006, and the first meeting took place only in 2008.

It now becomes more commonplace that shipping conferences have some sustainability-themed components, such as clean ships, green ships, wind power for sailing ships, or “cold ironing”, meaning that ships do not keep their engines running while they are in port, but are powered by shoreside electricity.

Maerks Kalmar set sail in 2010 powered by two containers full of Soladiesel made from microscopic algae.

Richard Branson’s initiative The Carbon War Room explained that fuel-efficient ships can save the industry USD70 billion a year and cut emissionby 30 per cent. Every ton of fuel can cut carbon dioxide emissions by 3 tons. Going on 15 knots instead of 20 can save millions.

Read also: Richard Branson venture into ecopreneurship and sociopreneurship



Jakarta air quality during pandemic lockdown

The sky seemed blue for once in the eyes of Jakartans, some even claimed to smell fresher air as they commuted past the lesser traffic during lockdown. Emission level may seem thinner, but a harmful air pollutant such as fine particulate matter (PM2.5), persists.

Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), on a report co-released with Greenpeace, said the fear of pandemic had variably impacted the air quality of Southeast Asian cities. The level of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) showed significant decreases year on year in Jakarta, Manila, and Bangkok, particularly due to halts in transporation and manufacture activities. Similarly, Kuala Lumpur even recorded 60 per cent drop.

But PM2.5, at the diameter size of 2.5 micrometers, continues to loom Jakarta, as it had been for years, despite NO2 down 40 per cent YoY, making it still the most polluted region in Southeast Asia, according to CREA analyst Isabella Suarez, in a press release received at ASPI desk last Friday.

Judging from the 1 Januari – 22 April 2020 data, she is convinced that the air pollutant is emitted from the surrounding industrial regions of Bodetabek, and the coal-fired plants especially in Cilegon, Banten, and Indramayu, West Java.

Greenpeace Indonesia climate and energy spokesperson Bondan Andriyanu said in a teleconference on 30 April that Jakarta is surrounded by a number of coal power plants (PLTU) in radius of 100 kilometers. Among the emitted substances is PM2.5.

There are 5 such plants currently in operation, with additional 4 planned.

According to Greenpeace Indonesia, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry repeatedly dismissed the capability of these plants bringing impacts to the capital region, pointing on the rampant construction activities instead.

Meanwhile, difference in standard measurements adds up to the risks, and remain unreconciled. WHO tolerate up to 25 microgram per cubic meter per 24-hour, not to mention aiming for annual mean exposure threshold of 10, whereas the Indonesian government, as stipulated in the Air Pollution Control Act Peraturan Pemerintah Nomor 41 tahun 1999 tentang Pengendalian Pencemaran Udara, set the limit 2.5 times higher at 65 per day, or annual threshold at 15.

Based on data from United States-based air-quality website AirNow, the annual PM2.5 concentration in Central Jakarta in 2019 was at average 40.1. This year, daily average was 30.13 from March 16 to 25, and 15.48 from March 26 to April 4.

Data by AirVisual, one of the world’s largest real-time air quality information platforms, suggested that visual clarity the Jakartans brag about recently does not translate into good air quality, looking at the 16 March to 14 April records.

For example, air quality on 13 April, referring to the United States Air Quality Index (US AQI) was recorded at 113 with PM2.5 concentration at 40.2. By US AQI standard, Jakarta air quality that day was “unhealthy for sensitive groups”.

The 2019 Air Quality Report by IQAir ranked Jakarta the 5th most polluted capital of the world, behind Delhi (98.6), Dhaka (83.3), UlaanBaatar (62), and Kabul (58.5).

In Southeast Asia, 5 top polluted cities are all Indonesian: South Tangerang (81.3), Bekasi (62.6), Pekanbaru (52.8), Pontianak (49.7), and Jakarta (49.4).

The following COVID-19 Air Quality Report covering 10 cities with historically high levels of PM2.5 pollution, however, underlined the biggest drop in Delhi average PM2.5 rate to 32.8, outperforming Wuhan at 35.1. Both cities entered moderate level by WHO category.

Environmental group Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (Walhi) in a slightly pessimistic tone urged the specific health-prone group living in Jakarta to wear protective masks, on the absentmindedness of the government, when interviewed mid last year.

On a separate discussion held by Komite Penghapusan Bensin Bertimbel, Jakarta, an activist even perceived the act of ignorance by the authorities as a violation of human rights, taking into account pasal 9 ayat 3 Undang-Undang nomor 39 tahun 1999 tentang Hak Asasi Manusia, stating a person’s right to live in a good and healthy environment.

In August 2019, 31 citizens grouped in Tim Advokasi Gerakan Ibu Kota sought legal action against the government for the losses caused by air pollution, in this case, the president of the Republic Indonesia, the ministers of environmental and forestry, public affair, health, governors of Jakarta, West Java, and Banten.

In tackling the issue, Jakarta Environment Agency head Andono Warih said in October that the Jakarta governor has issued a decree named Instruksi Gubernur Nomor 66 Tahun 2019. 

The final verdict of the citizen lawsuit is still pending, possibly until late 2020, a source with a knowledge of the situation said.

Old banyan temple upholds new green policy

Liu Rong TempleLiu Rong Temple, with over 1500 years of history dated back from Song Dynasty, is a tranquil scenic spot for both Buddhist worshippers, scholars, and tourists, surrounded by ancient banyan trees seemingly hidden in the concrete jungle of Guangzhou, one of the largest cities in China.

The renovation in the 90s has introduced two modern symbols of the temple, the Gong De Tang praying center, and the learning hall center.

Before it underwent major and costly renovation in the 90s, Gong De Tang was in its antiquated shape. hence the growing community and visitors alike called for a restoration which, after its completion, was followed by a new policy “the modern civilization prayer service”, encouraged in part by the central government.

In the face of environmental issues, the temple prohibits visitors from carrying incense to perform their ritual in the temple, instead providing a limited number of 3 earth-friendly incense sticks per person for free.

There will be no more sight of excessive ashes from burned joss papers as in old rituals.

Another modern facility in the complex is the conference center to hold traditional, cultural, and art learning, taught by Buddhist scholars from colleges across China.

In the first half of 2018, over 12 seminars were held, attended by around 5000 guests, domestic and foreign alike.

Liu Rong Temple

A false promise in deserted sand quarry


Sand and gravel mining flourish around the small town of Rangkasbitung, the municipality of the enormously 3000 hectares Lebak regency, Banten. It is an old town dating back to the Dutch colonial era, developed to provide industrial supplies to Jakarta. Oil factory and gold processing plant had thrived during the industrialization period that began to take effect in Indonesia in the 1930s. The region has since supported the growth of the capital with numerous materials. Gravel is one of them.

The dramatic environmental impact seen a few kilometers north of this historic town bears testament to the crucial role this region has ever done to provide materials for the endless construction activities in Jakarta. Entering the capital’s outer ring road at night with a tarpauline-covered back, massive number of trucks carry sand and gravel mined from this region. Many parts of the road around Rangkasbitung are damaged as large trucks travel to Jakarta and back on a constant routine.

Sand mining area opened sporadically, and contained material volume lasting for several years of mining activity. Few have size and quantity that sustained a decade of exploitation. In one of the biggest areas left several years ago, large pit have become a pond that unnoticingly goes down to 20 meters deep, a villager said.

The open area located right in the populated village sustains heavy damage due to frantic and irresponsible mining. The excavation has created a long, dead crater, in contrast with the lush, green chunk of untouched land above it.

Similar to the high activity just half a kilometer away, this area used to be a bustling mining area. But there is no evidence of rehabilitation taken place.

There are at least two mining areas in the village. The road access to the village are beyond repair. The inhabitants are seemingly ignorant, even to such an extent that some saw an opportunity to offer misleading information that the abandoned area has substantial remaining volume beneath, often to gullible businessmen.

A peasant woman carries tools for soil work in a village in Rangkasbitung, Lebak, Banten.

In another village, a smaller size of sand quarry are left abandoned not so long ago. Heavy duty equipments remain in place for an unknown reason. An aged woman, seen walking around the empty facility and inundated pits refused to talk about the condition, or even her name. Working as a peasant, she lives in a shack near the pit.

Given the degree of sensitivity, she only gave a hint surprisingly through her question, “Where is he?” It is assumed that she is a local villager waiting desperately to meet the long absent site manager to demand a promise yet to be delivered. This quarry is also located near the population of a village whose access were made difficult as a consequence of what used to be a rampant mining in the vicinity. Her face evoked that of dissilusionment and helplessness.

Social and environmental problems are unspoken, but not unheard of. Lebak authority issued a ban on sand and gravel mining in 2016 in response to environmental damage by the hills of Cimarga district, reportedly to causing flood and water crisis in the region.

Protests of the road condition also contributed to the mining restriction. But afterwards, there were reports that several activities resume, supported by the local group of proponents to the industry that has brought them a promising income.

Reports of similar outrage has over the years occured in many parts of the country, from Riau, East Java, Central Sulawesi, and Bali, highlighting various complaints such as landslides, floodings, and health problems.

The complexity of the controversial issue has gone to the extent that while the government must deal with legal investors to make a just decision for the best interest of the country, they fight many more conspicuous, illegal sand miners operating throughout the country, such as the latest case in Mojokerto, East Java, seizing two excavators and seven heavy duty trucks.

Jazz di alam Indonesia


Jazz gunung adalah pagelaran musik tahunan yang diadakan tanpa putus sejak 2009 di kawasan wisata Bromo atau Taman Nasional Tengger Semeru, Jawa Timur. Musisi yang pernah tampil di antaranya adalah Djaduk Ferianto, yang pada awalnya juga adalah penggagas konsep acara ini. Ia hampir selalu tampil setiap tahunnya bersama sekian musisi seperti Kua Etnika, Trie Utami dan Idang Rasjidi. Selain itu ada pula Syaharani, Balawan, Dewa Budjana, Tohpati Ethnomission, Kulkul, Benny Likumahuwa beserta anaknya Barry Likumahuwa, vokalis Iga Mawarni, hingga musisi di ranah indie dan pop seperti Banda Neira atau Yovie Widianto, dan Rieke Roslan.

Gunung Bromo yang merupakan tanah vulkanik yang terkenal dengan keindahannya memberikan pengalaman yang berbeda. Penikmat jazz tidak hanya mendapatkan pengalaman auditif namun juga visual yang diberikan oleh keindahan alam Gunung Bromo. Jazz Gunung yang diadakan selama 2 hari merupakan bentuk apresiasi yang diberikan kepada para penikmat jazz.

Jazz Atas Awan merupakan rangkaian acara yang diselenggarakan dalam Dieng Culture Festival di kawasan Gunung Dieng, Jawa Tengah. Jika Jazz Gunung hanya menampilkan satu pagelaran konser, Dieng Culture Festival memadukan kebudayaan tradisional dengan sisi modern, yaitu jazz.

Jika selama ini jazz hanya diasosiasikan ke penikmat musik kalangan tertentu, Jazz Atas Awan menawarkan pagelaran yang lebih terkesan merakyat. Berlatar belakang artefak Candi Arjuna, Jazz Atas Awan tidak memberikan sebuah panggung megah yang memisahkan pemusik dan penonton. Konsep ini ditawarkan agar jazz dapat dinikmati semua orang.

Kedua pagelaran tersebut menawarkan keindahan alam terbuka, kebudayaan, peninggalan sejarah dan musik jazz dalam satu kemasan. Sama-sama diadakan di ketinggian 2000 meter di atas laut, siapkan pakaian musim dingin karena suhu yang tak biasanya rendah di alam terbuka.

Acara-acara serupa turut bermunculan, seperti Ngayogjazz di Yogyakarta, Prambanan Jazz, Banyuwangi Jazz Festival, Maratua Jazz yang juga mempopulerkan pariwisata Kepulauan Derawan, Mahakam Fiesta Jazz Samarinda, Jazz Pinggir Kali Purbalingga, dan Ijen Summer Jazz yang berlatar belakang pegunungan Merapi. Kedua terakhir digelar untuk pertama kalinya tahun ini. Ubud Village Jazz Festival yang berlangsung selama dua hari setiap tahun sejak 2012, diikuti oleh sejumlah grup internasional, dan di antara musisi lokal terdapat Salamander Big Band dan Sandy Winarta.

Telaah kebakaran pencakar langit

Tak banyak yang bisa diperbuat untuk memadamkan api di ketinggian gedung baru Neo SOHO hingga puncaknya di lantai 42, yang berlangsung selama tiga jam sejak pukul 21:00, Rabu, 9 November 2016.

Pengunjung Taman Tribeca, mal Central Park, menyaksikan kebakaran di gedung Neo SOHO, Grogol.

Di antara kerumunan yang menengadah tertegun menyaksikan dan memotret kebakaran lantai demi lantai apartemen yang belum berpenghuni tersebut, sebagian terduduk santai bersama teman dan keluarga di Taman Tribeca, Mal Central Park, sebagian melakukan swafoto, sebagian berseliweran sambil menenteng kopi, kantong belanja, mendorong kereta bayi.

Bahkan banyak yang dalam ketenangan mereka melanjutkan malam keakraban di tempat kumpul-kumpul sekitar hingga larut.

Musik live saling bersahutan antara satu band dan lainnya di masing-masing bar, hanya mau berhenti ketika tengah malam saat di mana api telah lama padam dan iringan mobil pemadam kebakaran membunyikan sirene meninggalkan lokasi.

Dinas kebakaran gabungan di Jakarta telah mengerahkan selusin pemadam kebakaran sambil menutup akses ke Podomoro City demi menjaga keselamatan publik. Akibatnya arus keluar kendaraan dialihkan memutari mal lewat jalan sempit yang terhubung dengan jalan arteri Grogol.

Namun arus kendaraan tidak bergerak, mengakibatkan sebagian pemilik kendaraan yang baru saja meninggalkan mal memutuskan kembali ke area parkir.

Sementara nyala api menyajikan tontonan bagi semua yang terjebak di Central Park, para petugas keamanan sigap menutup akses ke Neo SOHO melalui jembatan penghubung yang sedang populer untuk swafoto belakangan ini. Penghuni apartemen sekitar tumpah ruah di jalanan.

Salah satu penghuni bahkan sempat merasakan hawa panas dari kebakaran yang terjadi tepat di seberangnya, sebelum mendapat instruksi meninggalkan apartemennya. Garis pengaman untuk mensterilkan area kerja petugas pemadam sempat tidak dapat menahan jumlah manusia yang bahkan sebagian di antaranya masih mengenakan pakaian tidur.

Dalam kecemasan semuanya berbaur dalam kerumunan, menengadah menyaksikan dan memotret api yang merambat naik hingga lantai tertinggi, diwarnai pemandangan material fasad gedung yang mengelupas dan jatuh terus-menerus.

Sebagian berseliweran dengan menggendong binatang peliharaan, sebagian duduk di depan minimarket yang semakin ramai, sebagian lainnya masuk tayangan televisi saat  diwawancara wartawan.

Meski upaya pemadaman tak berhenti, namun semprotan air tak mampu mencapai ketinggian di atas 20 lantai. Asa dan keberanian para pemadam harus berhenti di batas ketinggian tangga otomatis.

Jauh di atas sana, api merambat semakin tinggi, dan sesaat setelah terlihat sudah padam, panas yang belum pupus membuat api kembali menyala, dan padam lagi. Kondisi ini berlangsung selama kurang dari 3 jam sebelum jalan kembali dibuka dan warga diizinkan untuk pulang, melewati sisi samping gedung modern yang sudah gosong tersebut. Penghuni apartemen di seberangnya juga sudah tak tampak di jalanan.

Dalam beberapa dekake terakhir, perkembangan kota begitu cepat, dan  laju vertikal fisik kota semakin jauh meninggalkan kemampuan penanggulangan kebakaran pencakar langit. Potensi kebakaran, terutama pada tahap pembangunan, diperparah oleh sarana pemadam yang belum memadai.

Pemerintah kota Dubai, Uni Emirat Arab, bahkan menetapkan respon penanggulangan kebakaran lewat udara, melengkapi para petugas pemadam dengan jetpack agar mereka bisa terbang sambil memadamkan api.

Dubai memiliki gedung tertinggi di dunia saat ini, Burj Khalifa, setinggi 828 meter, dan kabarnya sudah memulai pembangunan The Tower, pencakar langit baru tahun 2020 dengan ketinggian melampauai Burj Khalifa. Kota tetangga sewilayah, Jeddah, Arab Saudi, juga sudah memulai pembangunan Kingdom Tower, pencakar langit dengan ketinggian melampaui 1 kilometer.

Tidak ada kata berhenti untuk membuat struktur tertinggi di muka bumi walaupun pandangan tentang keselamatan selalu memperingatkan bahwa fatalitas akan terjadi cepat atau lambat jika hasrat proyek mercusuar seperti ini tak terkendali.

Pakar penanggulangan kebakaran bahkan mengatakan bahwa hutan pencakar langit di Dubai rawan kebakaran. Mayoritas pencakar langit mengandung material mudah terbakar, seperti polyurethane dan aluminium composite, dua material yang terlalu banyak digunakan saat booming proyek gedung tinggi di sana, dan kemudian dilarang penggunaannya sejak 2013.

Sudah terjadi 3 kebakaran pencakar langit di Dubai sejak 2012. Kasus terakhir menghanguskan nyaris seluruh lantai Address Hotel, gedung 63 lantai, dalam hitungan menit.

Sebenarnya aspek keselamatan sudah diperhatikan sejak dua dekade silam di Jakarta. Wisma 46 di pusat finansial Jakarta yang memiliki 50 lantai, misalnya, pernah dikritik karena desain mengerucut di puncaknya yang meniadakan sarana evakuasi helipad akan menyulitkan upaya penyelamatan orang-orang yang terjebak di beberapa lantai teratas jika terjadi kebakaran.

Namun dilihat dari persepsi publik, arsitektur inilah yang membuat Jakarta memiliki sebuah ikon modern sejak 1996, dan pada saat itu sempat menjadi gedung tertinggi di belahan bumi selatan (southern hemisphere).

Ini adalah proyek mercusuar Indonesia yang terakhir sebelum krisis ekonomi melanda. Beberapa tahun belakangan, roda pembangunan vertikal kembali bergulir dengan lingkup dan pencapaian teknik yang lebih hebat.

Di Jakarta terdapat 3 kebakaran gedung tinggi dalam setahun terakhir, semuanya terjadi saat tahap pembangunan. Swiss-Belhotel di Kelapa Gading, Casa Domaine di Tanah Abang, dan terakhir gedung apartemen dan kantor Neo SOHO di Grogol.

Penyebab kebakaran diduga berasal dari faktor kelalaian, seperti arus pendek, percikan api pengelasan, bahkan rokok. Pesatnya pembangunan gedung tinggi di Jakarta sudah berada dalam tahap perlombaan mana yang tertinggi. Harga tanah dan permintaan menjadi salah satu faktor alami seperti lumrahnya semua kota berkembang.

Di sisi lain, aspek keselamatan menjadi tinjauan utama hanya ketika kecelakaan telah terjadi. Ada yang berpolemik bahwa tiada yang bisa menghilangkan setiap risiko. Risiko senantiasa mengikuti pergerakan progresif manusia.

Bird hunt in a giant reservoir


At the north-end of Jatiluhur Dam, Purwakarta, lush trees at the foothill of Mount Lembu that descends to the giant reservoir makes perfect habitat for bird and lizard.

Shading between the trunks and wriggling roots, these animals once in a while appear to seek food and water, and that is precisely when the danger awaits them.

From the opposite distance, the men on the hovering motorboat set watchful eyes with air rifles pointed forward in search of animal sightings. This place, after all, is not a natural reserves. No one was reserved about killing beings.

DSC_0648The hunting frenzy in surrounding area has become a popular holiday purpose for hobbyists from nearby big cities such as Jakarta and Bandung, riding their spiky 4-wheel vehicles with excessive light sources at the top in front of the modified freestand single seat.

Purwakarta is not known to have any forest in protection, and the remaining wilderness is of negligible wildlife variety, insomuch that one can find an abundance of natural habitat in Purwakarta open for public every day promoted as eco-tourism destination.


Herons are prized in this area for their beauty and for their relatively sheer numbers, so told by the locals. The easy access to their living habitat through the giant reservoir, built as a part of Jatiluhur Dam, the oldest and remain as the biggest one in the country up to current date, makes them easy prey even among novice with their fancy gears.

Having meticulously observed what might be behind the outermost layer of treetops through telescope, the hunters under the warm afternoon sun were desperate to catch a tiny movement.

Just when one thought that there was nothing in there, a random shot scared a pair of herons away and they flew over the discontented faces who watched them disappeared to the far horizon.

The pack of hunters on the drifting boat realised that they would have to let go of them and focus on other sitting preys. There were still many left to shoot at, but they got nothing until sun set.

Jatiluhur Dam took a total area of 8,300 hectares in Purwakarta, having played a vital role in watering over 242,000 hectares of agricultural field, producing 187 megawatt electricity for the region from 6 turbines, preventing flood on wet season and drought on dry season.

Local government’s initiative to clamp down on the excess of fishing activities-many had trespassed into the turbines zone-and unruly settlement on the embankment, has taken place in the past several months. Click to read The village in a reservoir.

Fishing for rent along the foothill that forms the surrounding environment of Jatiluhur Dam. These makeshift floating tents are unregulated, polluting the reservoir which is used to supply water to tap water facility. Fifty years after its construction, the dam is a rich ecology that draws human exploitation. Many view this a boon following Jatilihur Dam construction.

The village in a reservoir

The floating village and their fish cages form a permanent sight at the open water embankment of Jatiluhur Dam, severing its function as a water supply for consumption to as far as Jakarta.

Indonesia’s first and biggest dam gets into more critical condition each year as the waste from fish farm continues to accumulate and the illegal population sprawled out of control to its peak at some thirty thousands, a number that had caught the governor’s attention, vowing to reduce it to the accepted quota at 4,000.

The quota assumption was based on the number of households who are deprived of their farming activities following the dam completion in 1967.


This apparently has taught the local authorities to rule out fish cage as a compensation for farmland during the inundation of the newly built Jatigede Dam in Sumedang, West Java, the country’s second biggest at the size of nearly 5,000 hectares, this August.

The generation half a century apart has come to learn the aggravating impact of fish cage to dam pollution, water incapacity and the hazard in operating the power turbines.

There are 28 villages reported to be eradicated to make way for Jatigede Dam, a huge social impact affecting some tens of thousands of people.

The important lesson is that to handle such crucial infrastructure and make it work as what it is originally planned for requires great responsibility.


Tap water for all

Despite its critical condition, Jatiluhur Dam has not given up on its initial purpose: to become a vital source of water consumption for the immensely populated capital city, 70 kilometers away, plus the surrounding industrial areas of Bekasi, Karawang, to agricultural areas such as Subang and Indramayu.

Thus the plan to build two tap water facilities or the so-called Sistem Penyediaan Air Minum (SPAM) Jatiluhur goes on. It was part of the national commitment to Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), in which it demands tap water access to over 68 per cent population by this year, and ultimately for all in 2019.

It has produced nearly one million cubic meters of fresh water in 2015, part of it goes to bottled water industry consumed today, and is expected to double in the next two years.


Agriculture backbone

Jatiluhur Dam took a total area of 8,300 hectares in Purwakarta, having played a vital role in watering over 242,000 hectares of agricultural field, producing 187 megawatt electricity for the region from 6 turbines, preventing flood on wet season and drought on dry season.

Bandung was the first city to get supplied by the electricity from this dam in 1965, followed by Jakarta in 1966. Additional power generators added 32 megawatt supply since 1981.

Some 5,000 population from 14 villages had to be relocated to compensate for all the merits brought by the construction of what is also named the Ir. H. Djuanda dam, owing to the role of the country’s ex prime minister’s role in the project.

The initiative to clamp down on the excess of fishing activities-many had trespassed into the turbines zone-and unruly settlement on the embankment, has taken place in the past several months. Even the neighborhood self-regulated cleaning activities had made it into the news in March this year.

West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan has reiterated early this year that there will be no fish cage in Jatigede’s reservoir.

105 meters tall, 1.2 kilometers long, its reservoir contained 2.4 billion cubic meters of water, Jatiluhur Dam’s construction began in 1957 during the ruling era of Indonesia’s first president Soekarno. It took ten years to complete and remains the biggest dam in the country.