A City Sinking


Laila Richardson Jenkins

This week the country of Indonesia shares its plans with the world as to what they are going to do with its rapidly sinking capital, they are going to create a whole new city.

They are foraging for new capital because the current one is literally sinking. The current capital of Indonesia is a city named Jakarta, home to 10 million people as of 2022. For years scientists have urged the people and government officials in Indonesia not to take this matter lightly or it will be too late but now they are for sure too late.

In 2018 Jakarta was named the Fastest Sinking City In The World. Northern Jakarta was already 2.5 meters underwater and continued to sink as much as 1-15 cm a year. In 2018 about half of the city sat below sea level. Now it is about double or even triple that, the city as of right now is 40 percent underwater. It was predicted that by the year 2050 about 90-95 percent of the capital would be completely submerged underwater. The big city sits on swampy land with 13 rivers running through and the Java sea hitting right up against the borders.

With all of this water in the surrounding area, the city is heavily prone to severe flooding but not this severe to the point where it is underwater. The city of Jakarta is a highly populated city. With a highly populated, congested city there is pollution and the pollution leads to a rise in sea levels. The rise in sea levels is a factor as to why the city is sinking but one of the main problems is the excessive extraction of underground water. The water from the pipes is not always reliable and some people may not have access to them. Most people have no choice but to pump water from underground.

When you pump the water from under something it makes whatever is on top of it sink and deflate leading to land subsidence. Land subsidence is when the earth’s surface moves downward into a vertical motion. They can be caused by earthquakes and human and natural processes.

That is what is happening to the Capital of Indonesia. The water under it is being taken out so the land on top of the water underground sinks to take the place of the missing water. Since the current capital is sinking they plan to move the capital to the island of Borneo. This island is between the North Penajam Paser and the Kutai Kartanegara region in east Kalimantan.

The new capital will be named Nusantara. The government officials plan to relocate as soon as early 2024. To move the capital the estimated cost would be around $32 billion. They plan to create a whole new difference in a jungle in contrast to their former congested, polluted city.