Water Quality in Indonesia Deteriorates: Ministry

Diana Mariska
Black oil waste in Batam Beach. (Photo: Batam City Government)
Black oil waste in Batam Beach. (Photo: Batam City Government) - Ministry of Environment and Forestry said despite slight improvement in overall environmental quality, water quality in Indonesia deteriorates in 2021.

Sigit Reliantoro, director general for pollution and environmental degradation control at the Ministry, announced on Tuesday, December 21, that national environmental quality index in 2021 slightly increased to 71.43 points from 70.2 points last year.

Environmental quality index, or IKLH, illustrates the environmental quality in an area, which is a composite value of water, air, land, and seawater quality indexes.

Despite the improvement, Reliantoro noted that the increase isn’t as significant as that of last year when the index rose from 66.55 in 2019 to 70.27, or equal to a 3.72-point increase. According to him, the easing of mobility restrictions due to the improving COVID-19 situation in Indonesia contributed to the figure.

“There’s difference as activities return to normal,” he said.

Furthermore, the Ministry also revealed that water quality index in 2021 declined by 0.2 points, from 53.53 in 2020 to 53.33 in 2021.

The director general admitted that water quality remains a big issue in Indonesia as wastewater treatment is still poorly managed in the country. Therefore, reaching the 55.2 national target continues to be a challenge.

“[Improving] water quality is the most difficult because the index remains low, and it hasn’t reached target. The main cause is [high] BOD and E.coli which shows that household wastewater is still not optimally managed,” he said.

According to Water & Wastes Digest, BOD, or biochemical oxygen demand, shows the quantity of oxygen needed by microorganisms while “they decompose organic matter under aerobic conditions”. And to put it simply, higher BOD means more oxygen is required and signifies lower water quality.

Bengkulu, Banten, Riau islands, South Sumatra, and West Java are some of the provinces whose water quality has been found deteriorating.

Meanwhile, the Ministry revealed the index of air quality increased very slightly to 87.23 in 2021 from 87.21 in previous year.

Improvement was also recorded in seawater quality index which increased by 12.09 points, from 68.94 in 2020 to 81.03 this year. It’s worth noting that it exceeded national target at 59.00 points.

Tag # environment # klhk # ministry of environment and forestry # environmental index # wastewater treatment

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