Jakarta is Sinking! – Equator from the Air

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The city of Jakarta is growing upwards and outwards with astonishing speed. It now covers more than 250 square miles of what was once lush coastal planes and forested hills. One is really struggling to see from the air an area of green space that’s bigger than a football field. It’s just like a big sea of grey and brown. It’s just all buildings. And that’s rapid urbanisation gone horribly, horribly wrong. And one result of Jakarta’s transformation is having a particularly devastating impact on the people who live here.

This city is sinking. Current predictions are that by 2050, much of this enormous city is going to be under water. Some people estimate that Jakarta has got about a decade to try and sort itself out. The sinking is caused by Jakarta’s sudden growth. Lacking mains water, people have long dug wells to tap into the aquifer beneath the city. But demand has rocketed and now water is extracted on an industrial scale. As a result, the ground is giving way.

Geez! Sea water seeping up through the paving. Add to that, the sheer weight of the city and Jakarta is subsiding fast, in some places by up to 25 centimetres a year. Many areas are prone to flooding but it’s the people in poorer coastal neighbourhoods who suffer the most, despite one attempt to hold back the tide. This is quite an incredible structure. It stretches for hundreds of metres in this direction. It’s a massive wall but it’s not impenetrable. There’s a little bit
of flaking going on here, it’s been patched up here. There is sea water coming through, there’s little sea creatures swimming about. There’s some sea algae and kelp. As with every wall, there’s always the desire to find out what’s
on the other side.

That mosque went under years ago. And behind the wall in the area, the streets now sit more than a metre below the sea. For people living there, it’s a precarious existence. That is insane. The tide is high at the moment and it’s flooded this entire street. It’s stretching 100 metres up that way and around the corner. Gives a whole new meaning to seafront accommodation. It looks apocalyptic. There’s even a man fishing in the street. Many of the businesses there have been abandoned. But the owners of one small shop are staying put.

Source: BBC Channel on Youtube


  1. Jakarta’s growth is increasing rapidly. development everywhere. however, the development is more focused on the needs of the urban community. as a result, people living in the suburbs were affected. One of the impacts is that small communities like them lack clean water. it could be because the well where they took their clean water was mixed with sea water which seeped from the broken walls.
    This is the duty of the government to prosper its people. starting from repairing the main road submerged in water, repairing holes in the wall or maybe starting to find and build a new place to live for residents there.

  2. in my opinion, the city of Jakarta must improve irrigation channels and not use much ground water. And also reduce the construction of buildings that make a decrease in groundwater every year. the solution is to socialize to recycle used water

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