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September 25, 2017

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Indonesian officials ride bicycles to fight global warming

JAKARTA -- City officials in South Jakarta must now cycle when performing their duties, in a move to help combat pollution and global warming, an official said Wednesday.

They can own a car and drive to work, but they must cycle when travelling to do their work, South Jakarta city spokesman Ahmad Sotar said.

"This is compulsory. Cycling will not only reduce pollution and global warming, but also promote good health," he added.

"The officials can also get to know their residents better since now they can cycle through the narrow alleyways to reach their homes. They can't do so if they drive," Sotar said.

Over 200 officials in 10 sub-districts and 65 villages have been told about the new rule, which came into effect Tuesday.

South Jakarta, the second-largest of five cities making up greater Jakarta, covers an area of 145 sq kilometers and has 2,5 million residents."

Supporting the move, Meruyung village chief Selamat Aryadi said cycling would keep officials fit and trim.

"I don't mind buying a bike. But there must be some exceptions. What will happen if there's a big fire or landslide which I need to attend to urgently? I may be late for everything," he said with a chuckle.

"I think if it's raining heavily, it makes more sense for me to drive. I just hope I won't get caught," he added.

Sotar said the officials do not have to cycle to attend to emergency calls.

"But it is no excuse to say they are too old and sick to cycle. That means they are also too old and sick to perform their duties so, they should be replaced," he said.

"We will ask the residents to be our eyes and ears and tell us if the officials cycle or drive," Sotar said.

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