Indonesia’s government will build a new capital because Jakarta is sinking.
President Joko Widodo announced on August 26, 2019 that the new capital will be in the East Kalimantan province on the island of Borneo—approximately 800 miles northeast of the current capital. Widodo says the new location will have less risk of flooding and natural disasters.
Jakarta, home to more than 10 million people, has endured chronic flooding and rising sea levels, which scientists have suggested are tied to climate change. The city’s extraction of groundwater to use as drinking water has contributed to its continuous sinking, as land drops in the absence of groundwater. The relocation will reportedly cost approximately $34 billion.
Jakarta’s air pollution was ranked as the worst in the world in June 2019, leading more than 30 citizens to sue Widodo for the worsening air quality.
Environmental activists are concerned the move to Borneo will contribute to deforestation in the area from plantations, logging, and forest fires. Borneo is the third-largest island on Earth and has lost half of its forest cover since the mid 1980s.