Jakarta - The Sinking City
The Indonesian capital Jakarta is home to a rapidly growing population of over 10 million people and facing big challenges as a result. Rapid urban growth is leading to ecological breakdown, gridlocked traffic, congestion, flooding, poor air quality and the city is physically skinking through the ground. Sinking up to 17cm per year, Jakarta is one of the worlds fastest sinking cities.
There are a few factors contributing to the problem. Much of the city is low and flat with 13 rivers running through it. The tropical monsoon climate and wet season sees 300mm of monthly rainfall for 6 months of the year. With minimal green land and poor city drainage, the city is often flooded. Large companies in Indonesia are dumping chemicals and factory waste into waterways and the city lacks a sewerage system, meaning the floodwaters are heavily polluted.
A lack of investment in infrastructure and a population growth rate almost 4 times the global average has caused Jakarta to be struggling to provide appropriately for its residents. One of the biggest concerns being clean drinking water. Lack of access to clean water has lead to excessive extraction of groundwater - further contributing to the sinking of the Indonesian capital.
Piped water isn't reliable or available in many areas of the city leaving residents no choice but to pump groundwater for drinking, bathing and cleaning. In 2005, tariffs were frozen, leading to the two private water companies to cut down on investment, leaving 60% of the population to find water elsewhere. There are no laws in Jakarta against who is allowed to extract groundwater and it is poorly regulated. Everyone is pumping more than they should be allowed with minimal enforcement so the city is sinking into the ground.
Large amounts of the city's waste and sewerage deposits are drawn into the same soil that the 'clean' groundwater is extracted from. In order to ensure clean water is available, the government needs to ban factory dumping, chemical waste and sewerage systems being emptied into local waterways. However, government officials are struggling to regulate waterways with minimal investment in infrastructure.
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