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Prabowo Wants to accelerate giant sea wall construction to prevent Jakarta from sinking

Jakarta Globe - January 11, 2024

Ichsan Ali, Jakarta – Presidential candidate and Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto has announced plans to expedite the construction of coastal and giant sea wall defenses along the shores of Java Island, addressing the recurring issue of the island's northern coast sinking each year.

"I see families living in their bedrooms, dining rooms, with water as high as their knees. Their children live in such conditions amidst flies, mosquitoes, and garbage. This makes me question myself as a political leader, what can I do to change this immediately," Prabowo said in his address at the seminar on the Giant Sea Wall Construction in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Prabowo felt compelled to prioritize the Giant Sea Wall project after discussions that have taken place over the past few years.

"The Giant Sea Wall has been discussed for several years; it has been discussed a lot and, of course, we are grateful to the ministries and institutions that have continued to study this significant idea," the chairman of the Gerindra Party said.

Meanwhile, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto underscored the significance of the Giant Sea Wall by pointing out the annual losses of Rp 2.1 trillion ($135 million) caused by tidal floods in Jakarta's coastal regions. He stressed the adverse effects on citizens' living conditions, housing, access to clean water, business opportunities, and employment.

The government has undertaken various measures to address these issues, including the construction of coastal and riverbank protective walls, as well as the development of polder systems and pumps in northern Jakarta, Banten, and West Java.

In Jakarta, the construction of coastal protective walls and the Giant Sea Wall will proceed in three phases. The first phase was initiated in 2014 by the Ministry of Public Works and Housing in collaboration with the Jakarta Provincial Government, aiming for completion before 2030.

Minister Airlangga outlined the open-concept coastal and sea wall development planned for the western and eastern coastal areas of Jakarta, with the second phase (B) and third phase (C) targeting completion before 2040.

According to preliminary design and calculation, the Giant Sea Wall in Jakarta is expected to cost at least Rp 164 trillion to complete.

Java's coastal areas are sinking at a rate of 1-25 cm per year and the rising sea levels of 1-15 cm per year have led to recurrent tidal floods in several northern Java coastal cities. This phenomenon poses serious challenges to Java Island, particularly concerning erosion, abrasion, floods, and land subsidence along the northern Java (Pantura) coastline.

According to data from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Pantura region contributes approximately 20.7 percent to Indonesia's GDP through industrial, fisheries, transportation, and tourism activities, with over 50 million inhabitants.

"Certainly, actions are needed to realize the Giant Sea Wall development plan, and constructing the Giant Sea Wall in a fragmented, piecemeal approach along the coast will not provide a comprehensive solution," Airlangga added.

The sinking of Jakarta due to climate change has been widely acknowledged. US President Joe Biden referred to Jakarta's sinking in his statement on climate change in July 2021. "But what happens in Indonesia if the projections are correct that, in the next 10 years, they may have to move their capital because they're going to be underwater?" Biden said, as quoted from the official White House website of whitehouse.gov on July 30, 2021.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/prabowo-wants-to-accelerate-giant-sea-wall-construction-to-prevent-jakarta-from-sinkin