Indonesia Abandons Its Sinking Capital

June 22, 2019

Jakarta Capital
Jakarta, the current capital of Indonesia

Faced with a host of compelling reasons, Indonesia has decided to abandon Jakarta as its capital city. The nation's largest city, Jakarta is situated on the northwest coast of Java, the most populous island in the world. Over 140 million people live on Java, and the city of Jakarta accounts for over 10 million.

The population problem is part of the reason that Indonesia has decided to move its capital. Overcrowding, pollution, and traffic problems make it an increasingly unsuitable city in which to conduct government business.

But there's another reason the Indonesian capital needs to be relocated—the city of Jakarta is sinking at a rate of about six and half inches per year! That fact, plus rising sea levels, mean flooding has become a major problem. As the fastest-sinking city in the world, there's trouble ahead for Jakarta. Today, nearly half of its area is below sea level. Projections indicate that, by around 2050, 95% of North Jakarta will be under water.

After considering another location on Java, then weighing the option to simply make the capital a special zone near the presidential palace, in the end, Indonesian President Joko Widodo decided to move the capital off Java.

The new capital's location has yet to be announced; the government is looking for a location on the eastern side of the country. One area that's been suggested is Kalimantan, which is the Indonesian part of Borneo.

There's no official word on when the change will occur either. At Seterra, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the situation and ready to update numerous map quizzes with the new Indonesian capital city!

Overuse of ground water is the main reason why Jakarta is sinking.