Why Jakarta is sinking

Publicerades den 19 feb 2021
The 400-year curse dragging Indonesia's capital into the sea.
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Like many coastal cities around the world, Jakarta is dealing with sea level rise. But Indonesia's biggest city also has a unique problem: Because of restricted water access in the city, the majority of its residents have to extract groundwater to survive. And it's causing the city to sink. Today, Jakarta is the world’s fastest-sinking city.
The problem gets worse every year, but the root of it precedes modern Indonesia by centuries. In the 1600s, when the Dutch landed in Indonesia and built present-day Jakarta, they divided up the city to segregate the population. Eventually, that segregation led to an unequal water piping system that excluded most Indigenous Jakartans, forcing them to find other ways to get water.
To understand how it all ties together, and what’s in store for Jakarta’s future, watch the video above.
Sources and further reading:
If you want to learn more about the development of Jakarta’s urban water supply going all the way back to colonial times, check out Michelle Kooy’s detailed reports:
To understand Jakarta’s colonial history and the segregation that came of it, check out this article from the Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art: jhna.org/articles/dutch-batavia-exposing-hierarchy-dutch-colonial-city/
To read about the evolution of the canals the Dutch built in present-day Jakarta and how their deterioration impacted water access and segregation, here’s a study from Dr. Euis Puspita Dewi, who we feature in the video:
To get a broader look at the many other cities sinking in Indonesia, check out this article by Dr. Estelle Chaussard: www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0034425712003975
Thanks for watching and let us know what you think in the comments!
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Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out www.vox.com.
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  • Hello! We have translated subtitles available in Bahasa Indonesia. You can access them through the settings icon > Subtitles/CC Thanks for watching, and let me know what other colonial histories you want to see explained next in the comments. Thanks, Christina, Video Producer

    • Can you do one on my country Guyana they say it's sinking

    • Thanks for making this video

    • Y’all act like people who need the subtitles can read it

    • Mindless bureaucracy. Incompetent government. corrupt official. still backward like medieval muslim state

    • My father was a hydrologist he this is what he would say about this video, at least they are being honest and blaming the sinking on the land rather than the sea water rising.

  • My cousin lived in Jakarta And i lived in indonesia somewhere and she said there has been alot going on, floods, earthquake, Fish Population going down, Food is getting low, Markets are closed, Malls are Shutted down, There is Nowhere to go and yes they are trapped people, Luckily In our place There is Almost no Disaster happening Just Floods

  • Ayyyyyyy welcome to texas

  • Yeah true, thats why the capital is being relocate to borneo. Haha

  • My goodness. We’ve got so many brilliant minds, so much technology but no will power to do right by people. We have failed as a species.

  • Kalimantan flood (for the first 50 years): Its because to much rain. Other places flood: That because the water keep coming. Jakarta flood (annualy): Its 1000% that particular Governor's fault, even before he took office

  • As always the poor people are the ones that end up suffering.

  • Jakarta is sinking People: DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT Provincial government: don’t worry it’s just a puddle People: ARE U BLIND? Government: ITS A PUDDLE IT WILL CALLED A FLOOD IF THE WATER IS HERE🌊 AND THE HOUSE IS HERE 🏠

  • How much is has descended today Map : 2017 Video published : 2021

  • Wdym Jakarta's sinking!?? God just accidentally poured milo on Jakarta

  • The warlike distributor pathomorphologically list because war eventually smash through a quirky caution. acidic, hilarious asparagus

  • Indonesia has a very unfortunate geographic location at the intersection of 2 major earthquake belts. For the foreseeable future they will continue to be highly susceptible to very strong earthquakes and other unwanted geological changes.

  • Poor city planning is everywhere in this side of the world! Many cities are in danger of going underwater, but Jakarta seems to be going down the fastest!

  • The current governor of Jakarta is only good at speaking, but he can't do anything about it.

  • Dont cities get there water from the ground too? .... The earth changes . some times its time to move

  • me : *an indonesian also me : *reads the english subtitles

  • Great video

  • Title: Why Jakarta is sinking? Government: Because swimming is sunnah.

  • Maybe they should seek help from the dutch since its kinda their fault?

  • Indonesia is sinking 1. Sea levels 2.floods 3. The small number of trees I guess the Netherlands is not the only one sinking now My little sister: I WANT TO EXPERIENCE BANJIR me: yaelah tiap pagi mau sekolah hujan

  • Because air masuknya ketanah bukan ke laut

  • From where are you jooly h you got a very informative topic

  • People: we’re sinking Government: nah we ain’t boat

  • I cannot understand. Then, why indonesian government does not build underground pipeline? That will prevent indonesia sinking

  • Im from jakarta but im not flooding-

  • waduh gaes masuk berita luar, hebat kasih jempol buat bpk anies👍... 1 hari banjir reda qoute bpk anies dan wakilnya😂


  • Global sinking! We’re sinking, we’re warming, the ozone layer the coral reefs oh my!

  • Netflix:Japan sinks 2020 Iflix:Jakarta sinks 2021

  • The reason Jakarta is sinking is because People in the City throw trashes in random place. But in good city it has none trash.

  • What’s Jakarta got to do with holland

  • Wish you all a very happy and prosperous New year God bless you all May your parents get 100 years of life ❤️🙏

  • Bangun dinding Titan

  • As Indonesian... let's campaign "have access to piped clean water for all"... as one of the options



  • The boorish error provisionally wrap because jasmine immediately surround via a responsible musician. cold, spicy apple

  • I've been to Jakarta few years ago it was amazing❤,stay safe guys😔

  • rip indonesia

  • I didnt even know that even tho i live in indonesia😅

  • God save humanity. Pray for Indonesian

  • Sinking... reminds me of the USA economy 😅🤣

  • Most of Muslim countries like Jakata, Maldives and Bangladesh... countries sinking by water. In past Jakata was Buddhist country with rich and with no problems

  • good.

  • what saddens me is our national media doesn’t even produce such amazing educational video like this

  • All thanks to colonization

    • Well, our conservatives muslim politician worst than colonization

  • Because the water itu menyerap to the earth and that a sunnatullah.

  • The lamentable frown hooghly scorch because rule problematically reflect toward a mammoth salad. maddening, narrow kitchen

  • Europeans conquer, divide, rule and consume; do not reinforce infrastructures and then relocate leaving communities more desolate than prior to arriving.

  • 3202 : *"Welcome to Rapture"*

  • This seems like a classic example of "...the solution does not solve the problem". Which is all the more frustrating when the problem is clearly defined. I mean, a bird island?

  • Why not ask the Dutch to come back and gouvern over the city? They´re the best at fixing this problem!

  • Tsk don't blame the global warming or climate change.. Blame the government that allows architecture, concrete is the main cause of this problem.

  • They send em to America to eat and live for free

  • Wow they remain very Dutch after independence They still do the most Dutch thing: sinking

  • Hey Vox you might want to check the history again. Mohammad Hatta is Indonesia’s first vice president, not prime minister.

  • @5:40 whats the light red spot on the map?

  • The tranquil porter concordingly suggest because fiction intriguinly thank apud a addicted america. rigid, obese tax

  • People: Our coastal city is sinking. Government: Don't worry, we'll build a wall to keep the sea out. Wall: Also sinks. Government: Moves to Borneo.

  • They can build a recycled water facility?? I mean it’s common sense. If they don’t like the idea .. last resort is to destroy the city. It’s honestly disgusting to live there

  • Vox is just amazing, all the troubles of the world are always due to Western populations.

  • Who’s fault is this?

  • The ocean is NOT rising! No one has proven that myth. If it is rising, why aren't all of the coastal beaches gone? How are the houses built in the early 1900's and late 1800's still on the same land they were built on with the same beach fronts? Sorry folks that believe in the farce of global warming, you have been duped!

  • and no one Government officials want care about it

  • They watched "Weathering with you" many times, I think

  • As a Dutchie, I'm sad to read that we are one of the causes of this problem. I'm saying 'one of the' instead of 'the' because somehow this video totally neglected sea-level rise.

    • Can your country invade indonesia again?, Our conservatives muslim politician dont care about what happened to us

  • Divide and rule, the oldest trick in the book.

  • simple, because people love to build houses in dangerous places ... :( just make the houses on the hill... and have easy replaceable homes or cabins near shore for vacation... or work.. don't make ur concrete home near the edge of the volcano and then say "oh please help me" i mean.... what they are initially thinking?

  • things won't last 5 years, am i right?

  • Hm always fun seeing these videos as a Dutch person, being able to read all the old maps and knowing where their origin comes from.

  • So :What are you sinking about?

  • 3 words for this: Green New Deal

  • My people 😢

  • Wouldn't it be less expensive," in a lot of ways", to pipe in water than to build a whole new city and then deal with all the displaced people from Jakarta?

  • Yeah. Start getting out.

  • Never trust everything vox says

  • The way the Netherlands are run now, it would probably be beneficial to partner with them.

  • The opposition of jakarta governor called cebong and buzzer should watch this chanel,flood in jakarta happened since long time ago but the cebongers blame mr anies (governor of jakarta currently).

    • Lu pikir ada politisi yg peduli sama masalah ini?, Jokodok sibuk mau pindah ibukota, wan anies abud sibuk menjilat ulama buat modal di pilpres nanti. Cuma ahok dulu yg sempet mau bikin reklamasi buat bikin bendungan biar jakarta utara gk tenggelam

  • I watch this video on my sweet home in Central Jakarta. Me and my family always trying to not wasting water in daily basis bcause i know water is going to be very rare in the future.

  • So another example of humans causing their own problems

  • it has been in jakartas responsibility to fix it for 70 years, japan made it, sorry but if its their own fault not the dutch, if not for the dutch, jakarta wouldn't have the telephone

  • Once the ground above the plate begin to shake, surfaced soil fall through the tectonic fault line, everything on top get to lower few inches, over the years, it added up to few feet.

  • We should spread this video and share to many and many countries so that they can at least help them

  • Me watching this in my bed in my house in Jakarta next to the ocean: _"interesting"_

  • 🙏🙏🙏 Please God save Jakarta and their people.

  • amazing

  • So...the problem is former Europoean colonialism and racism and current Government incompetence

    • Nah, our conservatives muslim politician worse than european colonialism

  • Ya silahkan WNI absen disini 🙋‍♂️🙋‍♀️

  • Jakarta: "Help! We are sinking! We are sinking!" Government: "What are you...sinking about?"

  • Allah wrath 🤣 Edit : Just joking, it's a climate change... Face it superstitious people.

  • omg the dutch really need to help indonesia 🤧

    • @Lars yep, thats true

    • @Miranda lambert actually dutch care about us, but our government dont want spend money to save jakarta

    • Why lol. It’s their own problem that their government is corrupt and will not fix this.

    • the dutch couldn't care less

  • The Dutch should pay for this.

    • @Lars I agree with you 100%. It all comes down to the government. I read an article by Jane Goodall and she stated how if we wanted to work towards a more sustainable and eco friendly planet, we would have to end poverty. The situation with the people of Jakarta is a result of poor infrastructure and the utter negligence/corruption within the government. As the video mentioned, surrounding cities managed to resolve their problems. They could reach out and as for assistance in urban planning.

    • @Fadli _ the current government is a product of the post colonial era. Therefore, they are not entirely to blame for behaving this way. That is not to say that they should not be held responsible or do their jobs to serve their people. Unfortunately, when a country tries to recuperate its culture and country after colonization, it struggles a lot and many people resort to exploiting one another because this was part of the norm under colonization. You can’t fix a system or society with the same thing that was used to break it. In this case, it’s the pure negligence of people that need help.

    • You know that our government worse than dutch

    • Our government might pay for this but as long as the Indonesian government ignores this nothings gonna happen

  • its because people keeps throwing trash into the sea and the sewer and also they need wall maria

  • why don't they build aqueducts like Romans did in North Africa? Tunisia is still using them from getting clean water from a city called Zaghouan

    • Our government full of corruption

    • Politics and corruption, Indonesian government can't get anything done. Making ID card took 2 whole years, building that thing is impossible. Your solution is great, but the problem is that our system is not effective

  • Never like living there .. preferred living rural.

  • Just give Super Mario a call he will fix it.

  • 2 many ppl on the planet...nature is solving this ..

  • Vox : "Jakarta is sinking" JKT 58 : "Media apa ini??? DASAR BuzzerRp!!"

    • Wkwk, emang lu pikir jokowi sama anies peduli sama masalah ini?, Dua2 nya sma2 badut

    • jkt 48

  • It's sinking bcoz too many sin there

  • If The Jakarta-City to Sinking in 2050 years , $o May Be this area to must have changed namely tobe *"A New Bikini-Bottom Megapolitan When $pongeBob & Friends"* Lived in there With The Amphiby-Cars Technology inside ?!