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Commentary: Living dangerously in Jakarta all over again, amid crippling air pollution

JAKARTA: The 1978 novel by Australian author Christopher Koch, titled The Year Of Living Dangerously, set primarily in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, describes events leading up to the coup attempt by the now-defunct Communist Party of Indonesia on Sep 30, 1965 and the hazards in the city in those days given the socio-political conditions.

Today, Jakarta’s residents are once again enduring weeks of living dangerously, only this time it’s not because of a coup attempt or an insurgency but a more insidious cause – deadly air pollution.

This is not the first time the sprawling metropolis has been blanketed by choking grime. An article in The Interpreter four years ago reported exactly the same situation, and the city has once again been declared to have some of the worst air pollution in the world.

The smog has made both national and global headlines. Indonesian President Joko Widodo is reported to have been battling a cough for weeks, suspected to be related to the air quality in the city, estimated to be home to close to 11 million people.

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