Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan recently responded to the issue of the capital sinking, by ensuring that the government has taken steps to tackle the problem.
"We are positive and optimistic that Jakarta will be safe," Governor Anies told a webinar on sinking cities held by think-tank Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia (FPCI) on Thursday night.
The governor named three reasons to the Jakarta sinking phenomenon, with the first being the topography itself. Jakarta sits in a lowland surrounded by the highlands in the south.
Jakarta has also always been a watery area, as portrayed by the urban ward names such as Rawamangun and Rawa Buaya, among others, Anies said.
The word 'rawa' itself derives from the Indonesian word for swamp.
Secondly, Anies attributed the sinking to land subsidence. Inadequate distribution of clean water forced a large number of the population to rely on wells. This groundwater extraction led to land subsidence.
"However, this issue has been tackled. If we take a look at the map of areas experiencing land subsidence between 2007-2020, we have seen significant reductions," Anies said.
In the past, Jakarta had at least 20 areas facing land subsidence of more than 10 centimeters annually. But now the number of such areas has dropped to five.
According to Anies, Jakarta is already on the right direction in addressing land subsidence. He also hoped the capital would reach zero land-subsidence areas in the next few years.
"[To this end,] we are ensuring clean, drinking water distribution to the population, especially in the slums. Piping takes time, so we create water tanks and distribute the water via mobile vehicles to fulfill their needs," Anies said.
Last but not least, the rising sea level caused by global warming.
"This is something that everyone across the globe needs to address. [...] How do we [Jakarta] tackle this? We build a [sea] wall in the coastal area, which stretches 33 kilometers across Jakarta to prevent seawater from entering," Anies said.