For the first time in Indonesian history, the city of Jakarta will no longer be the country’s capital due to environmental and infrastructural challenges.
Known as the world’s fastest-sinking city, Jakarta has been unable to improve infrastructure quickly enough to make up for the challenges posed by climate change, according to Earther. The city has sunk an estimated 13 feet since 1989 due to rising sea levels. By 2050, Jakarta could be uninhabitable, displacing approximately 10 million people.
In addition to rising sea levels, pulling groundwater for human consumption has also impacted the region. As water is extracted, elevation decreases, making the city more susceptible to flooding.
The plan to relocate Indonesia’s capital was approved last week by Indonesian President Joko Widodo and is expected to cost up to $33 billion. Part of this budget will go to building new governmental facilities and relocating government workers to the new capital. Several locations have been proposed for a new capital but a decision has not been officially made.
Among the environmental motivations for moving, issues with traffic gridlock indicate that the transportation demands on the city are too much for the current infrastructure to handle, despite the launch of Jakarta’s new mass transit system in March. By moving the country’s capital, Indonesian officials hope to lessen the burden of day-to-day governmental operations.
Although no official location has been set for the future capital, a 10-year plan is being put into place to initiate the move, according to NPR. While Jakarta will no longer be the capital, the Indonesian government has expressed hopes that it can form an identity as Indonesia’s main financial city.
Rising sea levels are also impacting American cities such as New Orleans, making Indonesia’s plans potentially relevant for countries around the globe.