WARTAINDONESIA Ver En –The construction of the Nusantara Capital City (IKN) in East Kalimantan has been ongoing for over a year. This ambitious project is expected to become a modern and sustainable city.
However, behind the fanfare of progress, there is something that cannot be ignored: the potential health impacts on the surrounding communities, particularly in terms of dust and air pollution.
Debris Clouds, ISPA Surges
One of the real impacts that residents are feeling is the scattering of dust from construction activities. Raniyah, a warung owner near the IKN’s Zero Point, is feeling the brunt of this disruption.
Her shelves of goods, which were once neatly arranged, are now looking brown, covered in dust that keeps seeping in even though the gaps in her windows are covered in plastic.
This dust is not only a nuisance, but it also poses a health risk. Data from Puskesmas Sepaku 1, the nearest health center to the IKN’s Zero Point, shows a significant increase in ISPA cases. From January to October 2023, there were 478 ISPA cases, a number that is quite concerning.
Not Just ISPA, Other Threats Lurk
In addition to ISPA, dust and air pollution from the construction of the IKN also have the potential to trigger other diseases, such as:
Skin diseases: Dust that irritates the skin can cause dermatitis and other skin problems.
Eye diseases: Dust-induced eye irritation can trigger conjunctivitis and other eye problems.
- Heart and lung diseases: Long-term exposure to air pollution can increase the risk of serious diseases such as asthma and bronchitis.
The increase in ISPA cases and other diseases in the vicinity of the IKN construction area has raised concerns among the community. They are calling on the government to take more serious mitigation measures to protect public health.
What Should the Government Do?
The government needs to take mitigation measures to protect public health from the impact of the IKN construction, including:
- Air quality monitoring: Regular and strict monitoring of air quality to ensure that pollutant levels are within safe limits.
- Health education: Raising public awareness of the importance of health, especially in unhealthy environments.
- Health facilities: Provision of adequate and easily accessible health facilities for local residents.
- Environmentally friendly technology: Use of heavy machinery and construction techniques that minimize dust and pollution.
- Tree planting: Increase green space around the construction area to absorb pollutants and improve air quality.
The construction of the IKN is indeed important for Indonesia’s progress. However, this progress should not come at the expense of public health.
The government and relevant parties must ensure that the construction of the IKN goes hand in hand with efforts to protect health and the environment. Only then can the IKN become a city that truly benefits all Indonesians.
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