Why Jakarta is sinking

Feb 19, 2021
2 475 498 Views

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

    VoxVox9 days ago
    • @Vita indo is dump

      lensa grapherlensa grapher2 days ago
    • @Na Ma yeah!!!

      lensa grapherlensa grapher2 days ago
    • Thank you

      myselfrntmyselfrnt2 days ago
    • MV A # d lot ,loid.

      Dolores GutierrezDolores Gutierrez2 days ago

      Han FuJINHan FuJIN2 days ago
  • 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.

    oiuet souiuoiuet souiu3 minutes ago
    • Jakarta government need to ask to tokyo and hongkong for sinking problem.

      oiuet souiuoiuet souiu2 minutes ago
  • money

    TAC C-ObserverTAC C-ObserverHour ago
  • "A mentality that indigenous peoples did not understand sanitation and were not civilised" Mmm healthy trash filled streets you have there.

    NozyspyNozyspy2 hours ago
  • The Dutch are responsible for messing up this city, let that sink in

    Ramirez MckenzieRamirez Mckenzie2 hours ago
  • Looks like China is about to move right in,

    kat Matskat Mats2 hours ago
  • siapa ke sini gara gara tik tok

    Mw ZuhdiMw Zuhdi2 hours ago
  • They should build a floating city that relies on buoyancy to stay above water level.

    CK Gaming ChannelCK Gaming Channel2 hours ago
  • Sad to see Jakarta is sinking but their government or media don't cover this problem facing by people

    S SuchiangS Suchiang3 hours ago
  • Ehh njing, jakarta kok jelek banget lo sorot, udah kayak pemukiman monyet

  • Vox

    Alex JeffersonAlex Jefferson3 hours ago
  • Nga bisa bahasa Inggris 😅🤣

    Asrar KucangAsrar Kucang4 hours ago
    • Subtitle: apakah aku sebuah candaan?

      ReyTX2402ReyTX24023 hours ago
  • thank you so much for speaking up about this !!

    deldel4 hours ago
  • Inilah alasan Air Hujan harus terserap kedalam tanah, tidak dibuang ke laut. Sunatulah...

    Jamilah WatiJamilah Wati4 hours ago
  • Look at the reality

    Soodam사랑Soodam사랑4 hours ago
  • This is a sign from god. This mosque but be a truly unholy place.

    G TEAMG TEAM5 hours ago
  • sorry but the government is so bad and so incredibly corrupted its ridiculous ,the Indonesian people really don't deserve this.

    eyal rubineyal rubin5 hours ago
  • How west ruins the east...

    joshuahunt05joshuahunt059 hours ago
  • Jakarta government need to ask to tokyo and hongkong for sinking problem.

    V SooV Soo9 hours ago
  • Yes, finally

    Joe JgrhbJoe Jgrhb10 hours ago
  • Glad it sink, now the government has reduced excuses for corruption

    Joe JgrhbJoe Jgrhb10 hours ago
    • But it negatively affecting people’s lives

      Ramirez MckenzieRamirez Mckenzie2 hours ago
  • well now i know why my house keeps flooding when it has never flooded before..

    lanvialanvia11 hours ago
  • Rip Jakarta, my birthplace :(

    Prince PsionicPrince Psionic12 hours ago
  • the dutch should pay for the repairs

    4rmDEC2FRE4rmDEC2FRE12 hours ago

    wawan listantowawan listanto13 hours ago
  • Indonesian media should make a content like this!

    Top 10 IDTop 10 ID13 hours ago
  • Jakarta sinking Indonesia media:JKT vs KL Indonesia people:jakarta win Malaysia people:🏆🏆🏆👏👏👏

    M FM F14 hours ago
  • U cud change d sea water to drink water... extraction of salt...

    Raj Kumar MaityRaj Kumar Maity14 hours ago
    • Expensive method, opposition government won't approve

      Prince PsionicPrince Psionic12 hours ago
  • F

    RAFROST_141RAFROST_14114 hours ago
  • You can refill the Aquifer. We used to do that in Israel after a good raining season.

    danielrolingdanielroling14 hours ago
  • Asuuu..lo mbhs jkarta thn brp min..sktoy lo min.j

    Zuraida NasutionZuraida Nasution14 hours ago
  • The goal of the media is to make others problems your problems

    Metodi AngelovMetodi Angelov14 hours ago
    • that's the problem with creating awareness

      Rehan FauzanRehan Fauzan11 hours ago
  • BBC Indonesia documentary

    Aan NajmiAan Najmi15 hours ago
  • I'm worried now.... Jakarta's population has been increasing rapidly and will increase in the future, addition to that, due to the pandemic, it will get worse.. I'm just hoping the government will take action ASAP.

    PsychéPsyché15 hours ago
  • = Mexico city.

    Lu ChoLu Cho15 hours ago
  • Why station TV in indonesia don't make film like this.. this content have good value specially to indonesian people.. thanks vox.

    han 90han 9015 hours ago
  • I sorry guy,i just ask Zeus to ask Poseidon to upper the sea levels

    Nguyen HieuNguyen Hieu15 hours ago
  • I like the wall of Jakarta idea. It's like making a solution with a style!! 😅

    natural mysticnatural mystic15 hours ago
  • maybe someday, there are a history book tell people about Atlantis as sinking continent and Jakarta as sinking metropolis.

    edi kemputedi kemput16 hours ago
  • Thats right. Many city is sinking like Jakarta this island.

    cakra bawanacakra bawana16 hours ago
  • ternyata salah belanda

    RefrigeratorRefrigerator16 hours ago
    • tatanan kurang sip

      firman harwantofirman harwanto10 hours ago
  • many around the world dont know how to swim yet

    GmbhGmbh16 hours ago
  • Jakarta People: Help! Our city is sinking! Atlantis: look, we have our new neigborhood!

    Muhammad Talenta RachmansyahMuhammad Talenta Rachmansyah16 hours ago
    • @デイブ•`• dude i don't hate the people, is just simply the government is overly corrupt

      Joe JgrhbJoe Jgrhb2 hours ago
    • @Joe Jgrhb awas nanti ada yang lapor polisi mampus lu

      デイブ•`•デイブ•`•3 hours ago
    • @Joe Jgrhb why?

      J .NJ .N6 hours ago
    • Glad it's sink, i hate indonesia

      Joe JgrhbJoe Jgrhb10 hours ago
  • Highest price land in Indonesia will become a swamp in 2050 GGWP to all Jakarta's land lords out there

    BooBoo17 hours ago
  • We indonesians are used to it. Every new year it happens

    ᥣꪮꪚᥱᥣꪗᥣꪮꪚᥱᥣꪗ17 hours ago
  • Indonesia : we are sinking , let’s force shariya law to stop it

    Sajan GurungSajan Gurung17 hours ago
  • and voila, the solution for the jakarta's flood is right here, hope the local and state governments be cooperative and take the both egos aside, no more politics, make humanity come first

    Pandha 2Pandha 217 hours ago
  • Is that why Obama is buying beachfront property presently in Martha’s Vineyard

    17 hours ago
  • sad anies baswe

    obdientrogerobdientroger18 hours ago
  • Peninggalan belanda memang keren ya mulai dari korupsi dll

    Eki KadabraEki Kadabra18 hours ago
  • All the memes on twitter be like : AHOK (former governor) : Jakarta fellas this is what u looking for right? I helped you to live without flood for several years but you put me in jail Jakarta citizen : it is okay to be livin with flood as long as our leader is Musl*m 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️

    La AleganciaLa Alegancia18 hours ago
  • haha singapores clean tap water system go brrr

    REZEDREZED18 hours ago
  • haha singapores clean tap water system go brrr

    REZEDREZED18 hours ago
  • The parched geometry universally wonder because substance essentially try alongside a bizarre shell. peaceful, parallel vulture

    Ashley GironAshley Giron19 hours ago
  • Hey Jakarta say Hi to Atlantis 🤣🤣🤣

    Khoa PhạmKhoa Phạm19 hours ago
  • RIP jakarta

    AnuragAnurag19 hours ago
  • Malu

    KhairunnisaKhairunnisa19 hours ago
  • Oh my.. I hope that they can still stop the sinking huhu.

    ICEMODEICEMODE20 hours ago
  • setnov : pasti kejujuranlah

    Muhammad Habil Putra WijayaMuhammad Habil Putra Wijaya20 hours ago
  • 4.05 what are those structures on the water? Helicopter pads? :)

    Nicolas MarinusNicolas Marinus20 hours ago
  • There is something really funny about something built by the Dutch is sinking

    Adithiyan .sAdithiyan .s21 hour ago
  • this is a sad day, for the Jakartians.

    Macho1248Macho124821 hour ago
  • this is all because the Indonesian government is "NATO" no action talk only, corruption no 1

    May DayMay Day22 hours ago
  • Yet people still flooding to Jakarta every day

    Zachary ReaperZachary Reaper22 hours ago
  • White ppl turned class systems into race when they came buying lands and countries they have no rights to

    Jamila KaiJamila Kai22 hours ago
  • awokwkwkwkwk

    asquerosoasqueroso22 hours ago
  • i know its not the time for a bad joke but, _i guess this is weathering with you_ no im sorry i will head out.

    咲くR U N I咲くR U N I23 hours ago
  • Came looking for science and I found history

    Adit GamingAdit Gaming23 hours ago
  • I live in Jakarta.. Dang.

    ChikaChikaDay ago
  • Mantapp, bagus banget pembahasannya.

    eioshen boboieioshen boboiDay ago
    • get away with things.

      eioshen boboieioshen boboiDay ago
  • Jakarta is sinking. .. Indonesians :let's just drink the water..😅😅

    MystiCMystiCDay ago
  • Things aren't going to change and its all set to worse. God save Jakarta and all other costal cities.

    Zairrah MurtazaZairrah MurtazaDay ago
  • Government: What is the solution? I don't know, maybe find a way to provide the citizen with clean water instead try to build all this time and money consuming project. YOU ARE WASTING TIME FOR GOD SAKE

    kim kimkim kimDay ago
  • Damm bro but yes i agree with this of Jakarta not change and government not look this maybe year to year Jakarta just like Atlantis

    XijinpingXijinpingDay ago
  • Jakarta oh Jakarta, nasib mu kini. Memang harus ada perubahan yang lebih baik supaya tidak terjadi hal seperti ini.

    Joyo PurboJoyo PurboDay ago
  • Why not use the 30bn bird money to supply water.....

    hahahaseyohahahaseyoDay ago
  • Any Netherland person laughing

    Vikram mehlaVikram mehlaDay ago
  • Wow Thanks for the disease dutch!

    ez boiez boiDay ago
    • Ohh

      Vikram mehlaVikram mehlaDay ago
  • Wow, hope the Jakartans resolve this. There's rumors, within this topic for; California, Florida.

    कोई बात नहीकोई बात नहीDay ago
  • The place was built on a swamp, what do you expect?

    Anthony KernichAnthony KernichDay ago
  • Does Indonesia doesnt have water system's like the Philippines? I mean like Indonesia should build more dams and drainage + Flood Control 🇵🇭❤️🇮🇩

    Ahrtrex Allenzoilo DuranAhrtrex Allenzoilo DuranDay ago
  • Only jakarta. People never listen just live in samr location and get flood then get paid from goverment. People refused relocate new location and blame government. Sea level is getting rises soon and soon each territory jakarta is getting flood.

    WkakaJuniorWkakaJuniorDay ago
  • Thank you for info.

    thomas barokthomas barokDay ago
  • because why not.

    egeegeDay ago
  • What are you sinking about?

    Chill ScienceChill ScienceDay ago
    • nice

      ez boiez boiDay ago
  • The venomous christmas normally owe because crop dfly knit on a tightfisted john. wrong, faithful sail

    Sam WangSam WangDay ago
  • If the problem roots back from centuries ago, I hope these European colonizers be held accountable as well. But what do we expect, colonizers and imperialists have ways to get away with things.

    Gerizim CayaonGerizim CayaonDay ago
  • I see why dutch decided to colonize indonesia

    Abdullah husseinAbdullah husseinDay ago
  • Repent & be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins & you shall receive the gift of the holy ghost (acts 2:38)

    Fear GOD & Worship HimFear GOD & Worship HimDay ago
  • OK deniers, I would love to see argue your way to explain this?

    Lenin LunaLenin LunaDay ago
  • 3 minutes into the video and I'm already 👁️👄👁️ .. nice explanation btw ..

    SenpaiSenpaiDay ago
  • Jakarta: *sinking* Atlantis: "First time?"

    VictorbrineVictorbrineDay ago
    • Venice

      Vikram mehlaVikram mehlaDay ago
  • As a side note, it is interesting to hear the english loan words the lady with the yellow scarf was using.

    MB TaberMB TaberDay ago
  • masalahnya gw benci bet pemukiman kumuh

    yoyomamenyoyomamenDay ago
  • Karena Jakarta banyak orang yg berzina cuy

    RafidCHRafidCHDay ago
  • Someone reject the pipe n wanting the waters to enter the earth, so..... 🙄🙄

    edchanedchanDay ago
  • Global Warning.

    I'm tired of everything.I'm tired of everything.Day ago
  • 😥😥😥

    Regine MendietaRegine MendietaDay ago
  • Apparently these guys never Googled "Largest abandoned city"! If my place was sinking, I'd consider that!

    D ND NDay ago
  • Why wouldn't it? Their politicians only think of their own gains.

    Se7enSe7enDay ago