Second term focus of President Jokowi Human Resource Champion Development Tested in the Suralaya-Salira-Terate Banten route

Children from Elementary School in Salira Village with a background in Suralaya Power Plant. Other coal power, Salira Coal Power Plant (not in the photo) even closer to this school

President Jokowi in his speech stated that the second term priority of his administration was the development of human resources champion. The President stated that the quality of human resources starts from the womb, so there should not be any more stunted births. Mother and child health is key, especially until the age of 7-8 years, which is the golden age.

However, the development of quality human resources will not be fulfilled if the residential area filled by pollution. North Banten is filled with a lot of pollution, especially along the lines of Merak, Suralaya, Salira, Pulo Ampel, Bojonegara and Kramatwatu.

In this route there are Suralaya Coal Fired Power Plants with 5 active chimneys releasing air pollution. These power plants provide electricity for Jakarta city and surrounding areas. But the air pollution effects are spreading to the surrounding area. Another coal-fired power plant that has been operating are the Salira power plant and the Merak Energi power plant. Meanwhile, the Java 7 Power Plant (2 × 991 MW) will be operating in October 2019. This is referred as the inauguration gift of President Joko Widodo for the second period by medias

Rows of power plants and the chemical industry on the the road side, land and stone mining activities in the surrounding mountains make poorer ambient air quality. The leaves of the trees along the road were covered in dust, so the remaining campaigns posters of the politicians were also covered with dust.

A number of kindergartens and elementary schools exist in this area. From the Salira Elementary School, the dirty air coming out of the Suralaya power plant’s chimney is clearly visible. The Suralaya-Salira-Terate route is passed by parents to take and pick up their children from school using motorcycle causing air pollution exposure very worrying . A health worker in this area when talking with staff of the AEER Assosiation (Ecological Action and People Emancipation) said he bought a car because he uses it to take his child to school every day to avoid severe air pollution, not for raising prestige and social status reasons.

This dirty air contains fine particles PM 2.5, SOx, NOx which are harmful to the lungs and heart, especially children and the elderly. Another pollution ingredient is mercury which causes interference to the development of children’s brain tissue thereby reducing the ability to concentrate and learn.

The Suralaya power plant produces pollution located on the Suralaya-Salira-Terate road

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that babies born to mothers who are exposed to air pollution are more likely to be born prematurely and have low body weight which are the main factors causing stunting.

Severe air pollution in the Suralaya-Salira-Terate Line as the location of a large power plant supply to Jakarta can be mitigated by phasing out power plants with poor pollution control, such as Suralaya; the application of pollution control using international standards – can refer to tighter Chinese pollution control standards for Java Power Plant 7 (majority owned by Shenhua Gouhua); and stopping the addition of coal-fired power plants in this route (planned expansion of the Suralaya power plant, Salira, Terate).

Children in Terate Village play with the background of the Java 7 Power Plant (majority owned by Shenhua Guohua) which will operate October 2019.

In addition, mining activities and material trucking traffic need to be restricted along this route so that villages and schools along this path are not exposed to air pollution. The Jokowi’s commitment to develop superior human resources is tested in Suralaya, Terate, Salira lanes so that children in this area are not sacrificed for the sake of fulfilling electricity and other products for the Jakarta and surrounding areas

To Increase the Electricity Reliability in Java-Bali, then Increase the Renewable Energy Supply

(Children playing with a background in the Java 7 coal-fired power plant—owned majority by Shenhua Gouhoa  under construction which is scheduled to operate in October 2019. The power plant is considered to strengthen the reliability of the Java-Bali transmission network, especially in its west area)

The government and PLN need to improve the reliability of the Java-Bali electricity system by increasing the availability of renewable energy. In the case of a electrical disruption which resulted in a electricity blackout on August 4, 2019, coal-fired power plant seemed incompetent to respond quickly, so it took 6-8 hours to operate normally after being disconnected from the network system.

Regrettably, the PLN and the government’s response to the power outage is to strengthen the Power Plant including promoting the Java 7 Power Plant with a capacity of 2 x 991 MW which is scheduled to operate in October 2019 as a sollution to anticipate the same case. This solution does not consider  justice aspect for the people around the Power Plant who receive negative impacts such as health problems due to poor air quality from the Power Plant. In addition there are also fishermen whose fishing space in the sea has narrowed because it has turned into a special location for coal ports and the location of the Java 7 Power Plant. Moreover, the dominance of coal plants make a slow response to power outages because power plants require a long time to be able resuming normal operation.

Another long-term solution offered is to continue the construction of Java HVDC (High Voltage DC) transmission. The consequence of this network is the addition of the Mine-mouth coal-fired power plant in South Sumatra. Mine-mouth coal-fired power plants effect environmental degradation for residents at the power plant site, because they have environmental impacts from mining activities (floods, river diversion, mine dust) and at the same time there is also the impact of power plants (air pollution, noise). The mine-mouth coal-fired power plant caused disturbance to the residents’ agricultural land and rubber plantations in Muara Enim.

 (The rubber plantation owned by the residents is near the Simpang Belimbing Mine Mouth Power Plant, owned majority by Shenhua Gouhua. The tree colour turns black and the resulting rubber latex decreases)
 (a rainwater storage in a locals home in Gunung Raja Village, Muara Enim. The bottom of the rainwater storage container contains dust deposits originating from the power plant and coal mining activities, which are less than 1.1 km from this house)

Ecological injustice for the Java-Bali electricity fulfillment by sacrificing of environmental quality and the health of residents around the mine-mouth coal-fired power plant must be avoided, in addition, the construction of the Sumatra- Java HVDC which is dominated by the power plant increases greenhouse gases.

The reliability of the Java-Bali electricity system will increase if the renewable energy supply in each region/province is developed. The integration of the Java-Bali system makes fluctuations in the availability of renewable energy manageable, for example if the wind power supply on the South coast of Java slows down, it can be overcome by optimizing land and floating solar power plants that are built in each province. In addition, each province/region can have energy independence and electricity power responses quickly in anticipation of transmission failures between provinces. With the availability of large-scale electricity storage technology, the development of renewable energy is increasingly possible on a large scale and household scale.