Indonesia’s current capital Jakarta wears the tag of being the ‘fastest sinking capital in the world’ as it continues to sink at the rate of 24 cm every year, and a major part of the city is already below the sea level. This and many more reasons have forced the current government headed by President Joko Widodo to look for a new capital. By Kumar Shree
Jakarta is sitting on a pile of catastrophic list of problems right now. It features on the list of most polluted cities in the world. The city is facing escalating traffic concerns because of overcrowding. It has become a hub of intolerable pollution. It is facing an acute economic slowdown. The city is soon predicted to run out of water and it also lies in a disaster-prone zone. On top of all that the current situation suggests – Indonesian capital would be completely submerged by 2050.
All these issues got the government looking for a new capital for Indonesia and their search has zeroed down on East Kalimantan province on the island of Borneo. Once the required infrastructure is developed in the new capital city, the current residents of Jakarta would be shifted there. The risk of disaster in the newly chosen capital region is relatively low and it has a capable infrastructure for supporting the population shift. All these factors coalesce to make East Kalimantan a suitable choice as the new capital city.
“It is a strategic location at the centre of Indonesia, close to growing urban areas,” that’s how President Joko Widodo put it in his address to the press.
While the officials say that they are looking forward to establishing the new capital as a “smart city in the forest,” the environmentalists are raising concern over the same. They say that the move will promote destruction of forests in the new capital and will have the orangutans, sun bears, and long-nosed monkeys sent homeless. Greenpeace senior forest campaigner Jasmine Puteri said. “The move will have an environmental impact.”
While the current shift is a result of the year of prolonged, reckless exploitation of natural resources and not practicing sustainable development, we really hope that the government ensures an environment-first policy in the entire scheme of things.