For the attention of: These research findings can be useful for local agencies involved in environmental change mitigation, planning and development, and public health, but can also provide insights on health-related risk perception and coping strategies of populations in other coastal areas in Indonesia and other developing countries exposed to environmental hazards.
The problem: Limited knowledge exists regarding specific situational health-related risk perception and associated coping and adaptation behaviours.
Yet it is imperative to gain insight in how risk-perceptions are related to coping strategies concerning environmental change in order to develop relevant targeted protective mitigation and adaptation strategies for local populations at risk
What we did and why: To address this knowledge gap, a concurrent mixed methods study design was applied, including a cross-sectional survey, six focus group discussions and eight semi-structured key informant interviews with village officers and healthcare workers, to collect community level data to inform local policy makers. This provides data allowing for assessing adequacy of local-level coping mechanisms for improvement of mitigation and adaptation policies.
What we found: Inhabitants of coastal Semarang experience increase of temperature, drought, land subsidence and inundation.
- Locals link environmental change to detrimental human action, poor sanitation and waste management, yet insight into disease mechanisms is suboptimal, leading to inadequate health coping.
- Coping is mainly short-term due to the frequency and intensity of environmental events.
Environmental hazards result in a financial burden due to loss of income and necessity to conduct costly coping strategies.
Implications for city policy and practice:
Planning and Development
- Need better to consider strategic planning and budgeting decisions in the coastal area, including environmental and health issues.
- Must develop improved infrastructure (drainage, waste management, housing, polder/dam) to mitigate environmental risks in coastal regions.
- Ensure that development of sanitation, fresh water service, disease prevention and health education programs in the coastal community can be implemented through existing primary health care educational programs.
Authors: Julie van de Haterd, Budiyono Budiyono, Yusniar Hanani Darundiati and Ernst Spaan
Editor: Marcus Grant