The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) started an artificial rain initiative in Jakarta to address the problem of air pollution in the capital. By using weather modification technology (TMC), BMKG is trying to create artificial rain through cloud growth and wind direction.
However, although artificial rain has been successful on several occasions, the effectiveness of TMC in reducing air pollution is still debated. Data shows that artificial rain only temporarily reduces pollution, as pollution increases again in the morning.
According to data from IQAir on August 28 2023, Jakarta’s air quality index reached 163 US Air Quality Index (AQI US). This figure makes Jakarta the city with the second worst air quality in the world.
On the other hand, artificial rain in Jakarta is considered a reactive response, not a definitive solution. This artificial rain effort itself involves various agencies, such as BRIN, BNPB and BMKG.
Assessing the move, experts emphasized that artificial rain is not the ultimate solution. The problem of air pollution requires addressing sources of pollution such as transportation, industry and waste burning.
The effectiveness of artificial rain depends on many factors, including cloud growth and wind direction. Challenges in Indonesia include the lack of control areas in weather modification operations and the difficulty of modifying tropical cloud types.
Air pollution itself has a serious impact in Jakarta, especially on the health of residents. The number of cases of acute respiratory disease (ARI) has increased sharply, with 200,000 cases in one day, exceeding the number of ARI cases during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The impact of air pollution is also seen in children under five, where 28 out of 100 children under five who die are caused by ISPA, especially pneumonia.
Data from the South Jakarta Health Department shows an increase in visits to community health centers by ISPA sufferers, especially children aged 0-5 years. Air pollution also has a significant global impact, with 6.7 million deaths worldwide in 2019 due to air pollution. WHO estimates 4.2 million deaths due to ambient air pollution in the same year.
Thus, artificial rain in Jakarta, although it is hoped to help, is not the main solution in overcoming the air pollution problem. Addressing sources of pollution and broader global efforts need to be undertaken to reduce the impact of air pollution on health and the environment.