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Pesarean Village, Tegal Regency.

Lead exposure is a significant environmental health threat to children in Indonesia. More than half of the children in the country (45.5 million) have blood lead levels (BLLs) ≥ 5 µg/dL. A recent study in the capital Jakarta found that 47% of children had BLLs ≥ 5 µg/dL and 9% had BLLs ≥ 10 µg/dL (Prihartono et al., 2019). Other studies have similarly documented long-term chronic health conditions faced by children in Indonesia who are exposed to lead on a regular basis. A multi-country analysis further found that childhood exposure to lead costs the Indonesian economy nearly US$38 billion annually.

Unsafe smelting of used lead acid batteries is a primary contributor to lead exposures and a significant percentage of those batteries are recycled in the informal sector. Over the past decade, Indonesia has seen rapid development that resulted in associated effects such as the growth of car ownership increasing the demand for lead-acid batteries. Initial studies by Pure Earth’s partners in Indonesia showed that up to 70% of used lead acid batteries are recycled in the informal sector. Pure Earth’s team in Indonesia has identified and assessed more than 50 lead-contaminated hot spots around Jakarta associated with informal ULAB smelting, with estimates that there could be more than 1,000 such sites across the country.


45 million children under age 14 have elevated blood lead levels.


First Lead Remediation Project

Pure Earth conducted the first lead remediation in Indonesia in 2014 in the village of Cinangka, a dense residential area with a history of lead contamination from numerous small-scale used lead-acid battery recycling facilities. In addition to these active operations, there are waste dumpsites in central community areas throughout the village.

Prior to the involvement of Pure Earth, lead waste from former smelting activities in the Cinangka area was collected and disposed of in shallow burials and surface dumps around the village soccer field and the adjacent ravine. Between 2013 and 2014, Pure Earth managed a project to excavate 2,850 cubic meters of soil contaminated with lead and constructed Indonesia’s first hazardous waste containment facility under an existing football field in the town. The excavated waste material was disposed of in the facility and covered with a liner, limestone and clean soil.


Government Agencies
  • KPBB
  • Ministry of Environment – Indonesia
  • BPPT
  • Regency of Bogor