As Jakarta Sinks, President Plans Relocation
Is constructing a new capital city a feasible climate change solution?
What's the story?
- Indonesia's president, Joko Widodo, is addressing Jakarta's sinking issue by building a new capital city called Nusantara.
- The construction of Nusantara, situated 800 miles from Jakarta on the island of Borneo, is currently underway. However, progress has fallen behind schedule, jeopardizing plans to open the new capital in August 2024, before Widodo's final term ends.
- While residential towers have yet to be constructed, safety concerns have been raised by lead architect Sibarani Sofian, such as how the ground will react to such a load under tight construction deadlines.
- Environmentalists are concerned that building a 256,000-hectare (990-square-mile) city will result in extreme deforestation, posing a threat to endangered species like orangutans and jeopardizing the residences of Indigenous communities.
Why is Jakarta sinking?
- 40% of Jakarta already lies below sea level. Climate change has contributed to this, raising Java Sea levels by a fraction of an inch each year.
- Flooding has also been a longstanding issue for Jakarta. As a major port city, Jakarta is situated on a delta, with 13 rivers passing through it from the south's mountains on their journey to Jakarta Bay.
- Another cause is the widespread digging of wells underneath the city by Jakartans seeking clean water, which has significantly depleted Jakarta's marshes. City residents often face issues with poor water quality and disruptions in the piped water supply provided by local authorities.
- Parid Ridwanuddin, a campaign manager at the Indonesia Environmental Forum, said the capital city transfer is "moving the ecological crises to another location." Ridwanuddin suggested prioritizing the revitalization of coastal areas through mangrove reforestation and restoring building-heavy riverbanks to their natural state.
What do you think? Is constructing a new capital city a feasible climate change solution?
(Photo Credit: Flickr/Juxta Willis)
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It makes sense to find a new location for the capital in theory, but the new location will displace many animals, ecosystems, and current residents of that area. That's not helpful.
Jakarta should fix their problems and stay out.
The move of Jakarta, as planned may not be a good way to proceed, but moving or replacing major cities away from flood zones and coastal danger zones is just common sense. IT makes better sense to survey possible locations and pick one with excellent stability and less ecological impact, but as sea levels rise and storm damage increases in severity and frequency moving, planned or unplanned, WILL occur! Better to plan on it.
So the politicians are going to use taxpayer funds to build themselves a new haven screw the tens of millions and let them sink!
same here ... just in different ways
Jakarta is a sprawling city of 10M people which is larger than NYC's 8M. I don't see how they can relocated everyone. More likely the affluent and connected get relocated (or can afford to relocate themselves).
Also, it only delays the problem as eventually Borneo will eventually suffer the same fate as Java and be flooded by rising sea levels as temperatures rise. Indonesia is an archipelago of islands, so all islands will eventually be effected if we don't stop the rising temperature of the planet.
"Building a new capital might also amount to “only moving the problem”, said Aldrian, who also teaches at the University of Indonesia, Bogor Agricultural Institute and Udayana University in Bali"
"Moving will not stop the increasingly extreme rainfall and flooding, which is “getting heavier and heavier” either in Jakarta or, in the future, in Nusantara"
Short-term yes, long-term no unless environmental policies are put in place that will decrease their carbon footprint.
Building a new capital city does NOTHING to resolve climate change issues.
Better than ignorance!
I've never been there, I've only read about the many problems residents face there. We can always watch and learn what when right and what went wrong. I've always felt sorry for the amount of litter in the ocean in that part of the world.
I am an atheist on climate change. Helps China, hurts democracies.
At this point, ANYTHING is worth a shot.
Progress needs to be thoughtful, not reactive. For too long, we have responded to crises with short-term answers rather than well-thought-out ones. We need to look at the facts and scientific understanding to make decisions wisely. Although I am not opposed to constructing new cities, I am opposed to doing so swiftly and thoughtlessly. Can a city be built without heavy deforestation? Can humans and animals live in better harmony? What is a healthier plan for population density?
Another answer might be a series of smaller cities with eco-friendly transportation connections. The smaller hubs could be built to minimize deforestation and loss of habitat for endangered animals. Each city would prioritize sustainability, low environmental impact and clean water.