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Indonesia Announces Plan to Move Capital to Borneo as Jakarta Sinks into Sea

HeadlineAug 27, 2019

Indonesia announced plans Monday to relocate its capital city from Jakarta to the island of Borneo. Jakarta, which is home to over 30 million people, has been steadily sinking into the Java Sea, and a study found that over a quarter of the city will be under water within the next 10 years. Excessive extraction of groundwater and poorly managed environmental policies have led to Jakarta’s surface water becoming polluted and unfit for consumption. Rising sea levels from climate change further compound the issue. This is Indonesian President Joko Widodo announcing the plans.

President Joko Widodo: “The ideal location for the new capital is part of it in North Penajam Paser and part of it in Kutai Kartanegara in East Kalimantan province. … The place has minimum risk of natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, forest fires, volcanoes and landslides. Secondly, the location is strategic, as it’s located in the center of Indonesia. And thirdly, it’s close to other developed cities.”

Moving the country’s political center will cost an estimated $33 billion in construction and infrastructure projects. It’s not clear what will happen to the millions of Jakarta residents at risk of losing their homes and livelihoods as the city is submerged in coming years. Conservationists also warn the plan could threaten Borneo’s tropical rainforests if efforts aren’t made to respect protected areas and the area becomes overdeveloped.

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