Balikpapan is the main gateway to East and North Kalimantan and a center for processing petroleum for Eastern Indonesia. Balikpapan is also as buffer zone for new national capital with of 648,732 citizens (BPS, 2018). The government has committed to meeting national air quality standards set out in a 1999 legislation (No. 41/1999) for coarse and fine particulate pollution (PM10 and PM2.5 respectively), which correspond to the interim targets of the WHO’s ambient air quality guidelines.
Balikpapan City Government in maintaining good air quality has conducted a Green House Gases (GHG) Emission Inventory Study was helped by ICLEI in 2014 and obtained 5 (five) sectors that produce the largest greenhouse gas emissions, namely transportation, residential, commercial and institutional, solid waste, and waste water, and the government has integrated action plans in the Balikpapan City Mid Term Development Plan 2016-2021.
The City itself is contributing to efforts to reduce air pollution from traffic by installing 150 service vehicles and 30 city transportation vehicles with converters, implementation for Mass Public Transportation Facility, right now available for 1 corridor with 4 units buses, 2 unit school buses and 2 unit shuttle buses in Klandasan Parking Area, realization 51 points of Air Traffic Control System (ATCS), implementation of Car Free Day (CFD), orderly traffic area and portable median barrier.
In terms of waste management, Balikpapan is committed to achieve “zero waste to landfill” by reducing waste through 3R — reducing, reusing and recycling — and collaborates with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in a pilot project on sorting waste at source, and the key of success are sorting and processing waste from the source.
This effort is supported by a local regulation (No. 13 /2015 about Management of Household Waste and Household Trash), (No. 1/2019 about Reduction of Products / Disposable Plastic Packaging), regulation of mayor (No. 8/2018 about Reducing the Use of Plastic Bags), introduced this year on the Reduction of Disposable Products/Packaging, a government commitment to encouraging waste reduction from food products and packaging.
Energy-wise, the city government of Balikpapan is in the process of replacing public street lighting with LED lights, with a target of 7,476 public street lamps by 2020.
To improve househould air quality, the City Gas project is rolling out piping in six of Balikpapan’s sub-districts, so far covering 3,849 household connections and, in 2017, 17,000 connections altogether, while another project connected 150 households around a waste landfill area to methane gas for cooking.
Industries in the city are obligated to monitor and report on ambient air quality and gas emissions by installing continuous emissions monitoring systems for each industrial activity and/or periodic monitoring by laboratories.
Balikpapan and Bogor City, as the first Indonesian Breathelife member, has already signing a memorandum of understanding in July 2013 to develop its Carbon Low Emission Development Strategy (Carbon LEDS) or Urban Development with Low Carbon Emissions. Both cities are as a pilot project for URBAN LEDs by International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives of South East Asia (ICLEI-SEA) – Local Governments for Sustainability.
Under current plans, Balikpapan is set to be the gateway to Indonesia’s intended new capital city, to be built 75 kilometres away.
With more and more eyes turning towards the city and its surrounds, its actions in the coming years and decades to control air pollution and protect public health are a chance for the city to demonstrate that it is possible to keep up its high liveability even as it grows in profile and population.
Follow Balikpapan’s clean air journey here