Indonesia’s capital may be the next to be relocated, as it sinks further into the Java sea

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Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, is home to about 10 million people. Its metropolitan area is home to 3 times this number, and surrounding islands such as Java are inhabited by what makes up 54% of its population.

For the last 400 years, however, Jakarta has been sinking into the Java sea.

Whilst the main cause of this is the natural process of ground water extraction, the increasing severity of climate change has exacerbated the issue by causing Java sea levels to rise at a quicker rate. It is now estimated that 1/3 of the city may be submerged by 2050.

On top of this, the capital has dangerous levels of air and water pollution, which is extremely dangerous for the majority of Indonesia’s population that resides along Jakarta’s congested streets.

Congestion in Jakarta

One environmental problem to another

Despite increasing rates of climate change driving this relocation, this shift in the countries capital poses huge potential environmental impacts.

In his plans proposed in 2019, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo envisions the construction of a new ‘sustainable city’, which will help move ‘toward an Indonesia based on innovation and technology based on a green economy.’

Yet, it’s hard to imagine how the environmental impact of spawning a 256,000 hectare city in Borneo’s East Kalimantan province, which is home to exotic, endangered wildlife like Orangutans and Leopards, can be averted.

Basuki Hadimuljono, Public Works and Housing Minister, confirmed that initial planning for this new city has already been carried out, involving the clearing of 56,180 hectares of land. In its place the presidential palace, the national parliament, government offices, and a network of roads, is planned to be built.

When will this move actually happen?

Hadimuljono plans to have the core government area done by 2024, and for 8000 civil servants to have been moved to the city by then.

Widodo, however, previously stated that the core government would be moved before his second term as President ends in 2024, along with the Home, Foreign, and Defence Ministries, and the State Secretariat.

The whole relocation process is scheduled to be completed by 2045.

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