• Business Business

This country is moving its capital to avoid sinking under the sea: 'We must make the capital in a place that is far away'

The capital is sinking as much as a foot per year in some parts of the city.

Capital of Indonesia Jakarta, Jakarta is sinking

Photo Credit: iStock

For years, Indonesia's capital city of Jakarta has been at risk, the New York Times reported. The city of 10 million sits right at the edge of the Java Sea, which has been rising thanks to our Earth's changing climate. 

Now, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has proposed a solution: moving the capital from Jakarta to a new city called Nusantara.

What's happening?

As our planet gets warmer, massive amounts of ice at the North and South Poles are melting. This water flows into the ocean, raising water levels around the globe. Land is also shifting and sinking in some places, too, so rising tides may impact some areas faster than others.

Jakarta is one of the regions that's dropping quickly, sinking as much as a foot per year in some parts of the city, according to the Times. It has sunk about eight feet in the last ten years, and over 40% of the city is now below sea level.

Part of the problem is that residents of the city have been illegally drilling wells to get fresh water, the Times reported. The unstable marshes under the city have begun to flatten thanks to the water being released, making the whole city settle. 

Experts predict that almost all of North Jakarta will be underwater by 2050, according to the India Times — making it the fastest sinking city in the world.

Why is the rising sea level worrying?

Jakarta is home to 10 million people, with another 20 million living in the area around it. Flooding in this densely packed area endangers many people and could cause an incredible amount of damage.

Jakarta's fate is also a preview of what other coastal cities may face if the world keeps getting warmer. The higher the ocean rises, the more cities like San Francisco and New York are at risk. Even if these cities stay above sea level normally, they will become more vulnerable to flooding during severe weather.

"Indonesia is more than Jakarta," President Jokowi told the Times. "Indonesia is more than Java. So we must make the capital in a place that is far away."

What's being done about Jakarta's sinking?

President Jokowi intends to move Indonesia's capital to Nusantara, a completely new city currently under construction in the Borneo region. 

According to him, within a few decades, the eco-friendly city will be able to remove as much heat-trapping carbon pollution from the air as it generates. This means it will help get the rising temperature of the Earth under control.

President Jokowi has pushed for the project to be completed before the end of his final term next year. It is not certain whether this is possible or whether the next president will follow through with the move.

Other areas facing rising sea levels have come up with their own solutions, like the floating city being built in the Maldives.

Join our free newsletter for cool news and actionable info that makes it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider