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Ismed Sawir

(Universitas Terbuka)


Acid deposition was first found by “the father of acid rain” Robert Angus Smith, an English chemist, in 1872. He used the term “acid rain” to describe what he found; carbonate of ammonia in the fields, sulphate of ammonia in the suburbs, and sulphuric acid in town air (Howells, 1990).

It was later recognised that the acidity occurring either on water or on land was not always related with rain. Its deposition is also created by gravity and wind which is called dry deposition. Based on these facts, authors such as Mybeck (1989), Hendrey (1985), Fernandez (1985), North et al. (1985), Forster (1985), and Mason (1991), then used the term “acid deposition”. However, some authors such as Howells (1990), Elsworth (1984), Wellburn (1988), and Schindler (1988) still used the term acid rain. This paper uses the term of acid deposition.

Acid deposition, a form of several kinds of air pollution, induces serious damages to the environment as a whole. Forest decline and crops damages (Elsom 1992) are two examples of its effects to the environment. It may create more serious problems than other pollution such as solid and liquid waste because its spread occurs in the atmosphere. It may create environmental damages not only locally and regionally but also globally. Acid deposition also influences freshwater and its ecosystem.

This paper discusses the causes of acid deposition and their sources, deposition processes, its effects on freshwater and water ecosystem, and measures that may be applied to limit either its causes or effects. It also discusses the possibility of the case of acid deposition in Indonesia.

The Causes of Acid Deposition and Their Sources

Causes of Acid Deposition

Chemically, acid deposition in freshwater is caused by the presence of sulphur dioxides, SO2, and the oxides of nitrogen, NOx, in the atmosphere (Alloway, 1993; Elsworth, 1984; Howel, 1990; Wellburn, 1988) which then come down to the aquatic system. These gaseous substances are produced by man-made and natural activities.

Sources of Sulphur Dioxide

Man-made sources. The burning of coal and fuel oil to generate energy either in the industries and power stations, vehicles, and other activities that release SO2 have been assumed as the main sources of sulphur dioxide. Among them, power stations pose the striking sources. In the USA, in 1968, these stations contributed 74.9% of total SO2 in the atmosphere, while vehicles contributed 2.3% (Alloway & Ayres, 1993).

The amount of SO2 produced depends on the sulphur content in the coal and petroleum. Sulphur content normally varies between 0.5 – 4.0% with an average of 1.3% in coal (Alloway and Ayres, 1993). Its content varies among the kinds of coals. Peat coal, lignite, and anthracite contain 1.3%, 0.5%, and 0.5% of sulphur. In petrol fuel and diesel fuel, the content of this gas also varies.

In 1986, the concentration of SO2 in petrol fuel is 0.04 per cent of weight and in diesel fuel is 0.21 per cent of weight (Watkins, 1991). But, in 1990 the sulphur content in oil fuel were changed. Its concentrations in motor spirit, diesel fuel, gas oil, fuel oil, and heavy fuel oil are 0.1%, 0.3%, 0.7%, 0.2%, and more than 3.5% (Alloway and Ayres, 1993). Although sulphur contents in these fuel are considered negligible because of its small quantity, the total SO2 emissions from them are significant due to the large quantity of fuel being used in the developed countries such as the UK and United States.

In general, Indonesia has a low sulphur content, i.e. less than 1% of weight. Petroleum, diesel oil (ADO), and kerosene in Indonesia contain only 0.002%, 0.5%, and 0.2% of sulphur respectively. However, Indonesia might produce SO2 emission in large quantity because of the large amount of use of these three kinds of fuel in the future (Agenda 21 of Indonesia)**. Pertamina (the National Oil Company) in 1995 projected the significant increases of the use of petrolium, diesel oil, kerosene, and other kinds of fuel (see table 1).

The use of oil in Indonesia especially for industrial and transportation activities, then create the emission of sulphur dioxides. The projected generation of this emission can be seen at table 2.

Power plants in Indonesia produced SO2 emission of 229,800 tonnes in 1990; and are projected to produce 368,100 tonnes in 1998; 1,036.300 tonnes in 2008 and 2,648,100 tonnes in 2018 (World Bank,1993).

Table 1. The Projected Oil Consumption in Indonesia (kilo litres)*

Product 1998/99 2003/04 2008/09 2013/14 2018/19
Petroleum 11,016,790 15,072,014 18,977,991 22,146,115 26,486,719
Kerosene 10,884,523 11,108,221 10,965,596 12,892,088 15,046,057
Diesel Oil (ADO) 22,423,379 29,832,931 39,256,424 49,062,911 63,030,325
Diesel Oil (IDO) 2,642,754 3,461,640 4,572,515 6,081,763 8,133,625
Avgas 9,189 9,149 9,141 9,139 9,139
Avtur 1,875,092 2,399,543 2,921,361 3,358,376 3,839,529
Fuel Oil 4,672,208 5,656,924 7,260,102 9,972,543 13,679,036
Total 53,523,935 67,540,422 83,963,130 103,522,935 130,224,430

* Source: Agenda 21 of Indonesia

Table 2. The Projected Generation of Sulphur Dioxides (SO2) in Indonesia (tonnes)*

Emmision Source 1998/99 2003/04 2008/09 2013/14 2018/19
Petroleum 35,254 48,231 60,730 79,868 84,758
ADO 71,755 95,465 125,621 157,001 201,697

*Source: Giusti, L (1995)

In Italy, as a comparison, the biggest source of SO2 is from the use of fuel oil to run power stations (see table 3).

Natural sources of SO2. SO2 is also produced naturally by microbes, volcanoes, sulphur springs, volatilisation, sea spray, and weathering. Their global emission of this gas is around 125 Mega tonnes per annum. Microbial activities are very striking sources of this gas. The microbes such as Thiobacillus concretivorus, Thiovulum spp, and Thiospirillopsis spp, produce hydrogen sulphide from amino acids which contain sulphur through the processes of metabolism (Wellburn, 1988). This notion is supported by Howells (1990). He states that some natural emission of biological origin such as dimethyl sulphide and hydrogen sulphide contribute significant quantities to the atmospheric burden.

In Indonesia, volcanoes pose the potential sources of sulphur because many active volcanoes are found such as Krakatau in the strait of Sunda, Merapi in West Sumatera, Galunggung in West Java, and Merapi in Central Java. However, no study has been conducted, and data about this issue are therefore insufficient.

Table 3. The atmospheric pollutant released by Italian power stations
(in tones per hour)

Fuel Oil 14.9 2.2 1.1
Coal 7.2 4.8 0.2
Natural Gas 0 3.0 0

Source: Giusti, L (1995)

Man-made and naturally produced SO2 accumulate each other in the atmosphere. It was estimated that the SO2 annual average level in 1984 in some countries were as follow : 30.5 part per billion of volume (PPBV) in the USA, 124 PPBV in the UK, 48 PPBV in Poland, 48 PPBV in USSR (Wellburn, 1988).

Sources of Oxides of Nitrogen. Of seven oxides of nitrogen; NO, NO2, NO3, N2O, N2O3, N2O4, and N2O5, only NO (nitric oxide) and NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) play an important role in acid deposition. After their reaction with water, these gases, especially NO2, form nitric acid, HNO3. Wellburn (1988) suggests that HONO2 is structurally more correct than HNO3. Although there is a difference of structure between HONO2 and HNO3, these compounds produce the same amount of H+ ion which creates acid deposition. Oxides of Nitrogen are produced in two ways; man-made and naturally generated.

Man-made sources of NOx. Man-made NOx are produced through human activities such as industries, power stations, and transportation. The energy required to run them may be obtained from coal, fuel oil, and electricity.

Coal and fuel oil contain nitrogen. Some kinds of coal commonly used in power stations to produce electricity may have up to 3% of NOx (Giusti, 1995). Whilst in fuel oil, nitrogen is typified by pyrrole and pyridine.

According to Alloway and Ayster (1993), in the USA, 40% of NOx in the atmosphere come from vehicles. In the UK, transportation contributes distribution 28% while power stations add 46%. These percentages always change from year to year. They depend on the number of vehicles and power stations and their activities. In 1968, in the USA, Wellburn (1988) stated that 53.2% of oxides of nitrogen were gained from power stations and 42.7% from vehicles. This author also mentioned that in most developed countries road transport contributes 30% of the total emission of oxides of nitrogen, power plants 45%, and domestic and general industry 25%.

In 1987, in the USA, the concentration of NOx from various anthropogenic sources was 22 million tonnes (Alloway, 1993).

Fertilisers in the soil and animal manure also produce nitrogen. These sources may produce ammonia, NH3. Other sources of ammonia, NH3, are industries of ammonium nitrate fertilisers, plastics, explosives, and other industrial activities which involve with nitrogen.

In Indonesia, the main man-made sources of oxides of nitrogen are from industrial and transportation activities. The generation of oxides of nitrogen from these activities in this country can be seen at table 4. However, the role of power stations in producing this emission cannot be ignored. Power stations in Indonesia are projected to produce the oxides of nitrogen of 182,200 tonnes in 1990; 455,000 tonnes in 1998; 1,212,500 tonnes in 2008; and 3,086,800 tonnes in 2018.

Natural sources of NOx. NO is produced in the atmosphere as the result of reaction between N2 and O2 by using the energy from lightning discharge (Alloway, 1993). Its chemical reaction could be seen below.

N2  +  O2 ® NO
lightning discharge

NO is then oxidised to form NO2.

2 NO + O2 ® 2 NO2

Table 4. The Projected Generation of Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx)
in Indonesia (tonnes)*

Emmision Source 1998/99 2003/04 2008/09 2013/14 2018/19
Petroleum 142,117 194,429 244,816 285,684 341,679
ADO 116,602 155,131 204,133 255,127 327,758

*Source: Agenda 21 of Indonesia

The amount of NO and NO2 produced by the processes above cannot be easily determined because the reaction itself depends on the occurrence of lightning and the energy it creates is beyond to exactly measure.

Blue-green algae and bacteria pose the main natural sources of nitrogen dioxide. Denitrification by bacteria such as Pseudomonas, Bacillus, and Escherichia, is one of natural sources of nitrogen. It is including the bio-degradation of dead body of animals by bacteria. This nitrogen may dissipate into the atmosphere to form NO and then NO2 by oxidation process.

Deposition Processes

SO2 and NOx and/or their acid compounds in the atmosphere may be deposited in two ways; dry and wet deposition. Dry deposition occurs when they do not involve rain and/or snow. Their deposition is mainly caused by gravity and wind. Their total deposition on soils, forest and surface water is determined by deposition velocity. Because they have different weight of chemical elements and compounds, their deposition velocity is also different to each other (table 5).

Table 5. Deposition velocity (mm/s) of atmospheric pollutans

Surface NO NO2 PAN SO2 O3
Soil 1.9 1.6 2-30 2-11 2.5-10
Seawater 0.015 0.15 0.2 2 0.5
Freshwater 0.007 0.1 1 0.1
Plants 1 4-60 6 1-29 1-17

Source: Wellburn (1988)

Wet deposition involves rain or water vapour in the atmosphere. These gases and/or their acid compounds come down into soil, forest, and water together with rain and/or snow.

Wellburn (1988) estimated that the global wet and dry deposition rates of nitrate and nitric acid are about 25 million tonnes per annum and dry deposition of nitrogen dioxides accounts for an additional one third of this amount to make a total of about 33 million tonnes per annum.

The Effects of Acid Deposition on Freshwater and Water Ecosystem

Effects on Freshwater Chemistry

In dry deposition, when SO2 from the atmosphere enters surface water, it readily dissolves to form sulphite (SO32-) and bisulphite (HSO3). The reaction of SO2 in water could be seen in the reaction below.

SO2 + H2O Û H2SO3 Û H+ + HSO3   Û H+ + SO3

The H+ ions cause acidity in the water. One molecule of SO2 will produce 2 molecules of H+. Therefore, the higher the SO2 deposition on the water, the higher the concentration of H+ it generates. This condition induces higher acidity of the water.

In wet deposition, reaction between SO2 and water or water vapour takes place in the cloud before they come down to surface water. In this case, sulphur comes down to surface water not as SO2 but in the forms of  H2SO3 , H+ and HSO3  , o r H+ and SO3. Therefore these compounds create acid directly to water when they enter it.

In dry deposition of oxides of nitrogen, NOx enters surface water as compound of NO2. In the surface water, it will react with H2O with the following reaction.

2NO2 + H2O ® 2HNO3 ® 2H+ + 2NO3

In wet deposition, nitrogen compounds which enter surface water may be HNO3 and/or H+ and NO3 ions.

Naturally, the H+ ions which are either derived from H2SO4 or HNO3 are then neutralised by water buffering, bicarbonate (HCO3) which is usually found in the bedrock of rivers or lakes. The reaction will be as follow.

HCO3 + H+ ® H2O + CO2

If the whole amount of H+ ions react with the available HCO3, the lake or river water will not be acidified. But, when the amount of H+ ions exceed the available bicarbonate, pH value of water may decrease from the initial value and bicarbonate will be replaced by SO42 or NO3.

The acidity of river or lake water influences the water chemical content such calcium, magnesium, and aluminium. Calcium and magnesium contents in the bedrock of river or lake may come up to react with SO42 to form Ca(SO4) and Mg(SO4). The more SO42 in the water, the more calcium and magnesium will be needed to neutralise it. This may cause permanent changes of water chemistry. According to Howells (1990), calcium content in the alkaline water is typically 10 – 100 mg/L and in the acidified water is less than 1 mg/L (Howells, 1990).

Acidity induces the increase of aluminum cations, Al3+ (Meybeck, 1993, Mason, 1991, and Laws, 1993). The aluminum concentration in lakes or streams having pH less than 5.0 usually spans the range of 50 – 1000 microgram per litre, but, in neutral pH or non-acidified, the aluminum content is about 20 microgram per litre (Driscoll at all, 1980 in Mybeck, 1993).

The acid water and the changes of water chemistry will influence the life of fauna and flora which live in that water ecosystem.

Effects On Flora

Acid water creates the reduction of species diversity and species population of flora because acid water causes the bleaching of chlorophyll, the principal light absorbing pigment in photosynthesis activities (Laws, 1993). Therefore the flora affected will not be able to do this activity. This leads to the decrease of biomass and production in freshwater environment. Mason (1991) stated that lakes with pH less than 5.0 in Sweden only have less than 10 species of phytoplankton, but, the species richness increase sharply in the lakes with pH 5 – 6. The changes in the species composition and the decline of species diversity and population and decline in species diversity are typically observed in many acidified surface water in Scandinavia and North America (Mason, 1991; Howells, 1990). This condition creates the consequences of the presence, the absence, and the dominance of a certain species to other(s) in its environment.

In Tennessee, USA, Mason (1990) found that in streams with pH of 5 or less, primary producers/phytoplankton are dominated by green algae (Chlorophyceae). But, in the streams with pH of 5.7 or greater they are dominated by golden-brown algae (Chrysophytes).

In neutral lakes, in Sweden, Lobelia dominates the primary producer community, but, when pH is less than 5.0, this species is replaced by Sphagnum moss. On the other hand, Sphagnum, in lime lakes such Lock Fleet in Scotland, regresses with higher pH and calcium concentrations (Howells, 1993).

Mason (1993) stated that the presence of the liverworts Scapania undulata and/or Nardia compressa and the absence of the algae Lemanea indicate water pH of 4.9 – 5.2. In the water with pH 5.6 – 5.8, the moss Fontinalis squammosa grows well, but Lemanea is absent. When the pH is changed to 5.8 – 6.2, these two species grow well. If the pH of water is above 6.2 Lemanea is present but Fontinalis squammosa is absent.

Effects On Zooplankton and Invertebrates

Species of Daphnia, Diaptomus, Lepidurus, and Branchinecta which live in the water with pH above 8.0 died rapidly after being introduced to water with pH 4.5 (Havas & Hutchinson, 1982 in Howells 1990).

In the water with pH above 6.0, it is easily to find insect larvae such larvae of mayflies (Ephemeroptera), stoneflies (Plecoptera), caddiesflies (Trichoptera), dragon flies (Odonata), two-winged flies (Diptera) (Howells, 1990), crustacea and mollusc (Sutcliffe, 1983 in Howells 1990). But, in the water with pH around 5.6 some invertebrates above are absent or scarce.

Effects On Fish Species and Population

Many authors such as Howells (1990), Wellburn (1988), Elsom (1992), Mason (1991), and Elsworth (1984) reported that acid water undeniable causes the depletion and damages of species and population of fish in many countries in Europe and North America.

In the seven lakes in Sweden which have water pH of less than 5.0, loss of char fish (Salvelinus alpinus), roach (Rutilus rutilus), pike (Esox lucius), and perch (Perca fluviatilis) have been reported (Dickson, 1975 and Almer et al,. 1974 in Howells, 1990). Almer et al. (1974, in Howells 1990) mentioned that two lakes in Sweden which have pH 4.5 and 4.65 have no fish. Whilst Appelberg (1981 in Howells 1990) stated that the freshwater crayfish (Astacus astacus) is reported to be rare in Swedish water with pH below 6.0 and its production is poor at pH 5.0.

The effects of acid water on fish population in the UK are not different from other countries. The problems of species extinction and population decrease of certain fish have been occurring either in Scotland, England, and Wales.

Salmon (Salmo salar) population deceased in Scotland, trout are rare in Wales, and three species; eels (Anguilla anguilla), bullheads (Cottus gobio) and minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus) are assumed to be absent or restricted in England (Howells, 1990).

In the USA, it was reported that 120 lakes have no fish and about 200 lakes in Canada have been considered to have lost their fish population (Howells, 1990).

Although the damages of fish species and population may be caused by several factors such as food availability, catchment activities, salinity, and other water pollution, but in relation to low pH of water, acid deposition is considered as the main cause.

Actually, fish is damaged or killed not only by the acid condition itself but also by aluminum toxicity and low concentrations of calcium in the water which are related to acid deposition.

Under acid condition, aluminum concentration in freshwater increases (see subchapter IV.1 above). The primary effects of this metal on fish is to disturb sodium regulation mechanism at the fish gill while at the lower concentration, it inhibits the fish growth, impairs the calcification, and damages the reproductive system (Howells, 1990). The damage on sodium regulation mechanism at the gill poses the most serious problem because it adversely affects fish respiration, and subsequently may kill the fish.

Measures for Limiting The Effects of Acid Deposition on Freshwater

There are two kinds of measures which may be applied to limit the effects of acid deposition on freshwater and its ecosystem; short term and long term. In the short term, measures are stressed in recovering the existing acid freshwater and in the long term in preventing the production and accumulation of SO2 and NOx in the atmosphere.

Short Term Measures

Application of Bicarbonate in Acid Water.

Actually, naturally, bicarbonate is available in the bedrock of lake or river. But its quantity is limited and far less to be able to neutralise acid formed, especially if acid deposition quantity far exceeds the quantity of bicarbonate. Therefore, it is needed to add bicarbonate to lake or river. Bicarbonate will “catch” H+ ions to form water and carbon dioxides (see reaction below).

HCO3 + H+ ® H2O + CO2

The quantity of bicarbonate needed depends on the acidity level in the water. Lower pH value will need more bicarbonate. But the basic calculation is based on the reaction above. One molecule of ion H+ requires one molecule of bicarbonate. Concentration of ion H+ could be calculated from the pH value. For instance, pH 4 means that H+ concentration is 10-4 mg/L. Then, it is needed to estimate the water volume in the river or lake. From this estimation and estimation of required molecules of bicarbonate based on reaction above, the total bicarbonate required can be calculated.

Application of Limestone or Dolomite Particles

Limestone and dolomite particles can be used to trap sulphur to form calcium sulphate (CaSO4) and magnesium sulphate (MgSO4) in the water. For this purpose it is needed to add these materials into acid water in either river or lake. The results of liming of an acid lake was shown by Aston et al. (in Howells, 1990). He said that subsequent to liming, an acid lake with pH 4 – 4.5 in south-west Scotland showed an increase of species number from 100 to 110 species.

The other success liming application was reported by Mybeck et al (1989). They stated that lake liming programmes at 4,000 lakes in Sweden which was initiated in 1977, have successfully, by 1986, increased lake pH value and reduced the toxic level of aluminum.

The kinds of limestone which may be used for this purpose are pulverized limestone (CaCO3), hydrated lime (Ca(OH)2) and quicklime (CaO) (Mason, 1993). This application may also increase the concentration of calcium which decreases because of acidity.

Long Term Measures.

The Use of Substitutions for Fossil Fuel

Although sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen are also naturally produced but man-made emissions of them from fossil fuel combustion are considered to be main sources of acid deposition (Mybeck et al, 1989). Because of that, reduction of the use of fossil fuel poses a wise choice for people.

Electricity for industry may be obtained by converting solar energy, by operating windfarms, establishing hydropower, etc. Vehicles may be operated by electricity which is produced by recharged-dry-batteries. These fossil fuel substitutions may not produce pollution. Moreover, their sources are never running out and are never cause problems to the environment. And indeed, for the future we need to apply the sustainable developments especially to produce energy.

Removal of Sulphur and Nitrogen in Coal and Fuel Oil

It seems impossible to stop the use of coal and oil fuel in the near future because their substitutions are not ready yet to replace their roles in this modern life. On the other hand, most of industries, power stations, and vehicles have been designed and built to use the fossil fuel. Therefore the real effort which may be applied to reduce the production and accumulation of sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen in the atmosphere is to remove sulphur and nitrogen which are found in coal and fuel oil.

To achieve the reduction of sulphur and nitrogen in coal and fuel oil, Laws (1993) suggested the following treatment.

a. Removal of Sulphur From Oil

Sulphur may be removed from oil by applying the technique of catalytic hydrodesulfurization. Oil is treated with hydrogen at elevated temperature in the presence of a suitable catalyst. S then is caught in the form of H2S and this gas may be removed by applying other chemical reaction.

b. Removal of Sulphur From Coal

Sulphur may be removed from coal by pulverising the coal. Pyritic sulphur, the sulphur compound in coal, is then oxidised to free sulphur and/or sulphate. Sulphate dissolved in the leaching solution and the free sulphur are extracted with toluene.

c. Removal of Nitrogen From Oil and Coal

Actually, the reduction of N in fossil fuel is not a cost-effective way because the N concentrations in these fuel are very small (Laws, 1993). To decrease the NOx emission, Laws (1993) suggests to reduce combustion temperature and/or the time the air stays in the combustion chamber.

Application of Activated Carbon or Charcoal.

Smoke which is produced by power stations and other industrial activities is channelled into chimney. Then, it is directed into another chimney which contains activated carbon or activated charcoal. After SO2 and NOx in the smoke are caught by the carbon or charcoal, smoke will pass the chimney and then “fly” to the atmosphere.

Implementation of Clean Technology.

Technology plays an important role in generating acid deposition. Therefore, technology is the main key for preventing air pollution including acid deposition. The technology which will be used should be environmentally friendly and conforms to sustainable development.

Implementation of clean technology should be integrated with the introduction of pollution prevention pay policy. The pollution makers should be responsible to pollution they generate. Therefore, this policy would guide industrialists to implement clean technologies in their industrial activities.

The Environmental Community-Partnership And Participation Programme

Government direction and programme in preventing air pollution included acid deposition still pose the Commando on the Front-line of Battle to Air pollution. The commando implements the guidelines and programme which should be done together with the community, especially industrialists. The (industrialist) community involvement is an absolute requirement for this programmes to get the targets. For instance, the Programme of Blue Sky launched by the Ministry of Environment of Indonesia. This programme needs industrialists and other community members to ensure success of its implementation.

Implementation of Regulation With Law Enforcement.

The law and regulations related to environment and pollution are absolutely required. They should be supported by clear, strong, and consistent law enforcement. The implementation of law enforcement should be based on high-commitment of the involved bodies. Without them, the regulations for preventing pollution and rehabilitating the damages caused by pollution will not reach the targets.

Acid Deposition in Indonesia

At present, there is no any evidence of the case of acid deposition and its impacts on the environment in Indonesia (World Bank, 1994). This is possibly caused by the potential of the soil to buffer the acid condition. However, acid deposition might happen in the areas of dense-industrial activities such as JABOTABEK (Jakarta, Bogor, Tangerang, and Bekasi), West Java, East Java and the surrounding areas because of their high production of SO2 and NOx.

There is also a possibility of the wind factor which spreads out the SO2 and NOx from the dense-industrial- areas in Java to more safe areas such as Sumatera and Kalimantan Islands. Therefore, it is not impossible that the exported wind borne SO2 and NOx contaminate the land and freshwater ecosystem in the Lampung Province. On the other hand, industrial and transportation activities increase rapidly in those industrial areas. Based on this notion, there is a need to study acid deposition and its impacts on land and freshwater ecosystem in Indonesia especially in Java, Southern Sumatera, and Kalimantan Island.

Although there is no evidence, the potential case of acid deposition and its effects on environment especially on freshwater ecosystem in Indonesia should not be ignored. There are three main reasons for this; lack of data about acid deposition, the increase of industrial activities, and the increase of transportation development.

Lack of Data About Acid Deposition.

The insufficiency of acid deposition monitoring network in Indonesia lead to weak conclusion about the acid deposition status in this country. Therefore it is utmost important to strengthen the data collection that is supported by international co-operation. This could be followed and strengthened by some integrated studies among the fields involved such as hydrology, ecology, freshwater ecosystem, etc.

The Increase of Industrial Activities.

During the first long term development plan up to now, agricultural product contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) significantly declined. In 1968, agriculture was the main contributor to GDP, but it declined significantly in the 1980s. In 1987, the products of agricultural sector contributed 23.33% of the Indonesian GDP. This figure declined to 19.47% in 1991. On the other hand, the contribution of industrial products increased strikingly during the development era of Indonesia. The industrial product contribution to GDP of 16.75% in 1987, significantly increased to 21.28% in 1991 (Statistics of Environment of Indonesia 1992). In three main industrial areas in Indonesia; Jakarta, West Java, and East Java; the increase of industrial activities was more significant than other areas.

Jakarta, with an area of only 0.03% of Indonesia, in 1987 had 1,746 large and medium industries and this figure then increased to 2,100 in 1989; an increase of more than 20% in two years.

In West Java, with an area of only 4.17% of Indonesia, there were 177,956 large, medium, small, and household industries in 1990 and increased to 178,883 in 1991 (West Java Province Profile, 1992)

A total of 448,855 large, medium, small, and household industries in 1987 in East Java (the area of only 1.5% of Indonesia) increased to 458,404 in 1989, and 460,060 in 1990 (East Java Province Profile, 1992).

Moreover, World Bank (1994) has projected the significant increase of industrial contribution to Indonesian export growth in the future. In the period of 1971-80, industrial contribution to export growth was only 7.5%. This figure then increased to 47.3% in the period of 1980-1990. This figure is then projected to reach 82.1% between 1990-2000.

Data about the existing industrial development (see Table 6) and the projection of industrial contribution to export growth until the year 2000 aforementioned reflect how fast the industrial development in Indonesia is. This condition has resulted in a significant increase of fuel consumption in industry. Petroleum consumption obviously increased from 135,038,736 litres in 1985 to 315,047,479 litres in 1992. There was an increase of more than 133% in seven years. The consumption of other kinds of fuel in this period also increased significantly (see Table 7).

Industrial activities are still concentrated in Java Island about more than 65% of Indonesia. World Bank (1994) stated that 75% of Indonesian industrial activities are located in Java Island.

The consequence of the concentrated-industrial development and fuel consumption in industry in Java Island would create a phenomenon that air pollutants generated particularly SO2 and NOx in the atmosphere would also be concentrated in Java Island. The production of these gases from industries seems to significantly increase in the future because industry would develop rapidly in Indonesia especially in Java Island.

The Increase of Transportation Development.

In 1969, there were only 198,554 vehicles in Jakarta. This figure rocketed to 1,515,299 in 1989 (Statistics of Environment of Indonesia 1992) and 2,063,490 in 1993 (Statistics of Indonesia 1994). There was an increase of more than 939% in 24 years (1969-93). The total number of vehicles in four dense-industrial areas in Java Island, three other islands, and in Indonesia can be seen at table 8, 9, and 10.

Table 6. Number and Development of Industries in Indonesia *

Year Large & Medium Industry Small Industry Household Industry Total
1975 7,091 48,186 1,234,511 1,289,788
1986 12,765 94,534 1,416,638 1,523,935
1989 15,540 N/A N/A N/A
1991 16,494 122,681 2,350,984 2,490,159
1992 17,648 N/A N/A N/A
1993 18,219 124,990 2,353,559 2,496,768

Source: Census of Economiy of Indonesia 1986

Table 7. Fuel Consumption in Industry in 1985 and 1992 in Indonesia

Fuel Total
Growth (%)
Petroleum (litre) 135,038,736 315,047,479 133
Fuel Oil (litre) 1,628,410,130 3,213,682,193 97
Diesel Oil (litre) 1,056,268,919 1,615,517,230 53
Kerosene (litre) 121,168,888 278,228,038 130
Lubricating (litre) 44,376,665 58,559,143 32
Coal (kgs) 303,295,661 1,592,436,255 425
Cokes (kgs) 22,154,478 21,564,868 -2,7
Gas (M3) 488,160,738 1,495,284,266 206

* Source: Census of Economy of Indonesia 1986
** Source: Statistics of Industry of Indonesia 1992
***The growth rate in seven years (1985 – 1992)

Table 8. The Number of Vehicles in Four Dense-industrial Provinces

Province 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992* 1993*
DKI Jakarta 1,435,731 1,515,299 1,649,037 1,795,090 1,912,159 2,063,490
West Java 792,869 788,774 847,100 902,355 950,773 976,369
Central Java 1,131,667 1,371,386 1,395,367 1,498,786 1,629,229 1,743,955
East Java 1,470,865 1,519,429 1,711,613 1,919,142 1,948,644 2,054,847

Source: Statistics of Environment of Indonesia 1992 and 1994*

Table 9. The Number of Vehicles in Three Islands and Indonesia

Island 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992* 1993**
Java 4,831,132 5,194,888 5,603,117 6,115,373 6,440,805 6,838,661
Sumatera 1,721,058 1,752,006 1,850,304 1,925,251 2,052,632 2,121,521
Kalimantan 384,237 411,330 449,783 479,291 572,956 628,435
Indonesia 7,769,949 8,247,982 8,889,022 9,582,138 10,197,955 10,784,597

Source: Statistics of Environment of Indonesia 1992 and 1994*

Table 10. The Projected Vehicle Number in Indonesia (1995 – 2005)**

Vehicle 1995 1999 2003 2005
Gasoline Vehicle *10,378,924 *12,493,467 *15,020,268 *16,477,325
Diesel Vehicle 1,173,515 1,559,006 2,077,139 2,391,750
Total 11,552,439 14,052,473 17,097,407 17,869,075

*motorcycles included
**Source: Agenda 21 of Indonesia

Data at Table 9 show us how significant the increase of vehicle number in Indonesia especially in Java Island was. This condition may increase the concentration of sulphur dioxides and oxides of nitrogen in the atmosphere of this island. The concentration of these two gaseous pollutants would strikingly increase in the future because of the increase of vehicle number in Indonesia particularly in Java Island (Table 10).

Bapedal (Environmental Impact Management Agency of Ministry of Environment of Indonesia) indicates that vehicles contribute 75% and 34% of NOx pollution in Jakarta and Surabaya, the capital East Java Province.

Petrol vehicles, which use petroleum as energy source, are projected to generate 35,254 tonnes of SO2 and 142,117 tonnes of NOx in 1998/99 and increase to 84,758 tonnes of SO2 and 341,679 tonnes of NOx in 2018/19. Diesel vehicles, which use ADO as energy source, are projected to produce 71,755 tonnes of SO2 and 116,602 tonnes of NOx in 1998/99 and increase to 201,697 tonnes of SO2 and 327,758 tonnes of NOx in 2018/19 (see Table 2 and 4).

The striking development and activities of industries and transportation in Indonesia may accumulate and increase the concentration of sulphur dioxides and oxides of nitrogen in the atmosphere in the future especially in Java Island.

The three reasons above make the case of acid deposition in Indonesia arguable. Indeed, there is a little possibility of the case of acid deposition occuring in Indonesia. However, in Java Island, this possibility is higher because of the activities of industries and transportation. Industries are still concentrated in Java Island and so does transportation. Java has 75% of total industries and more than 63% of total vehicles in Indonesia although it occupies only 7.65% of Indonesian total area.

The development of industries and transportation aforementioned may significantly increase in the future especially in Java Island. They are like two sides of a coin and grow in linear function. Therefore, they remind us about the possibility of the case of acid deposition on this island and its close neighbours such as the Lampung Province in southern area of Sumatera Island.

Possible Impacts on Freshwater Ecosystem in Indonesia

Indonesia’s potentials to generate SO2 and NOx remind us about the possibility of the case of acid deposition in Indonesia. Acid deposition and its impacts on freshwater ecosystem in Indonesia especially in Java should be taken into account seriously.

The impacts of acid deposition on freshwater ecosystem which had happened in the UK, Sweden, the USA, Canada, etc. may also be occuring in Java, southern areas of Sumatera, Bali, and Kalimantan Islands.

The possible effects of acid deposition on Indonesian freshwater ecosystem are as follow :



Taken from :Pustaka UT-Jurnal Studi Indonesia, Jan 1997


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