Why Jakarta is sinking 

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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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Or Twitter: goo.gl/XFrZ5H

Published on


Feb 19, 2021




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Comments 100   
Vox 7 days ago
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
lensa grapher
lensa grapher 12 hours ago
@Vita indo is dump
lensa grapher
lensa grapher 12 hours ago
@Na Ma yeah!!!
myselfrnt 12 hours ago
Thank you
Dolores Gutierrez
Dolores Gutierrez 15 hours ago
MV A # d lot ,loid.
Han FuJIN 23 hours ago
Sascha Chan
Sascha Chan 29 minutes ago
Why doesn’t my school teach me this? Why wasn’t I aware of this? Why has this video taught me more efficiently than my teachers have? I’m disappointed in my school tbh. SMH.
Perfect Fresco
Perfect Fresco 3 minutes ago
A lot of schools have a west-centric curriculum
Nitin Waghode
Nitin Waghode 48 minutes ago
The problems of East starts with west ..and the prosperity of west starts with east ..Ironical
Daeng Rombo
Daeng Rombo Hour ago
I am from indonesia and i know what they are saying
Noily Hour ago
Cool, history Fav 8:14
PT. Sinar Cahaya Anugerah
I knew about this in 1997. I left Jakarta in 2011 and now live in Tanggerang
Perfect Fresco
Perfect Fresco 56 seconds ago
Have you ever thought of leaving Java? It seems to me like the population has long passed carrying capacity on the island.
Jorex Calamba
Jorex Calamba Hour ago
This channel is somewhat better than Vice now.
Akali Hour ago
-Japan Sinks- *Jakarta Sinks* ☑
Potato Newbies
Be careful Vox for posting about this kind of things or the BuzzeRp squad will attack you guys..
Hugh Jaanus
Hugh Jaanus Hour ago
She says "Jakarda" not Jakarta for some reason.
Mc N
Mc N 2 hours ago
She said it. Concretisation of the ground being seen as a sign of development is one of the main issues. Urban planners should always factor that in.
Izwanhe Production
Izwanhe Production 2 hours ago
Let em sink..why bother if their own people do nothing..
Maximo 2 hours ago
wow, so the reason why jakarta is sinking - and not climate change as I read somewhere else.
Kevin Prahadika Aprilliano
Weathering with you in real life
Ape from the kitchen of Enki and Enlil.
The Dutch Indies, could have been the best country in the world. 💔
William Ang
William Ang 3 hours ago
MD Nor Bador
MD Nor Bador 3 hours ago
Just move the people out of there. Simple. The gov must have a lot of ground 4 their people.
Ed 3 hours ago
Safe to say that Jakarta WILL sink. The government is incompetent (has been so for decades) and cares more about winning the next election and protecting their image towards voters (e.g. 120km seawall planned! 10km built) than doing things that actually matter.
Jacob de la Torre
Jacob de la Torre 3 hours ago
How ironic, now they need a dutch firm to help with the great wall, everything is a cycle
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
not ironic. dutch help civilisized indonesia... just got lazy in maintaining the canal
Lida Nh
Lida Nh 4 hours ago
Martin SV
Martin SV 4 hours ago
The capital of Indonesia must be moved to Kalimantan/ Borneo as the only way to move the new capital city of the country's economy🇮🇩🏛 Ibu kota Indonesia harus dipindahkan ke Kalimantan sebagai satu-satunya cara untuk memindahkan ibu kota baru perekonomian negara agar ekonomi meningkat🏛🇮🇩
Martin SV
Martin SV 56 minutes ago
@Miranda lambert huh?
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
the problem is the government and its people....
Giorgio Gi
Giorgio Gi 4 hours ago
ah good old dutch
Giorgio Gi
Giorgio Gi Hour ago
@Miranda lambert good job at making excuses, maybe the germans thought exactly the same when they invaded dutchland
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
ah good ol tribal country to colonize
Eunice Sarah Siahaan
Seriously, i just got good news that the water near me is starting to stop. Then i see this now its ruining the whole mood already, cant i just enjoy for a second that my house wont be covered in water? but i really appreciate you guys' prayers for indonesia, it does make me feel a lot better!
Mat Fish
Mat Fish 4 hours ago
Welp, time to emigrate.
IBRAMAZ 5 hours ago
see such a big problem. the criminals also see the positive side, .... projects .... projects. 😔
IBRAMAZ 2 hours ago
Yeah.....the only biggest problem 😑
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
daniel papa
daniel papa 5 hours ago
haha European power
jalfien latuheru
jalfien latuheru 5 hours ago
Anis Baswedan Best government of jakarta❤️
jalfien latuheru
@Abrahamic Distributist kwkwkkwk😂😂😂
Abrahamic Distributist
Udah mau tenggelam masih ribut gubernur lagi 😂
Toyota Avanza
Toyota Avanza 6 hours ago
The government be like : pipe water? Nah, too expensive. Lets just move the capital to Borneo instead
Fallon 6 hours ago
After watching this im confused ...was it trying to convince me to blame the ppl who live there or to feel bag for them? Bc it was beyond simply informative. I resent them. . .hmmmpfff
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
are you dum. its all their fault. this is 3rd world country with corruption and millions of uneducated people
aisya n.
aisya n. 6 hours ago
also everyone: *throws trash literally everywhere* *cuts down trees* *builds mall instead of parks* the reason why our city is flooding is the government !!! also pollution!!
Jahboy1620 -
Jahboy1620 - 7 hours ago
Josh 7 hours ago
Much expected qn from UPSC✍️✍️✍️
mouloud boukhalfa
mouloud boukhalfa 7 hours ago
Indonesia 🇮🇩 is a very beautiful country and a tourist's paradise. It saddens me a lot to see such a beautiful place and such good-hearted people held back by politicians and corruption!
mouloud boukhalfa
mouloud boukhalfa 2 hours ago
@Miranda lambert why are you a politician or a cop there! 😂
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
u better not be talking about bali
Nur ali Ali
Nur ali Ali 3 hours ago
do you know maybe indonesia will become atlantis 😂😂😂
isabela melgarejo
isabela melgarejo 7 hours ago
its always the colonizers-
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
M. NOVAL FARIZQI 7 hours ago
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
mimpi terus ya. moga" bisa lebih dr Amrik :)
qopoy dnon
qopoy dnon 7 hours ago
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?
qopoy dnon
qopoy dnon 7 hours ago
I've often thought about this; If were worried about rising sea levels do to Glacial melting. Why aren't we ming the Ice to help places that are in need of such a precious resour
Buzzer Gaming
Buzzer Gaming 8 hours ago
siapa yang nonton ngak pakek subtitle, kita satu server, walupun ngak bisa nangkap semua tapi bisa melatih bahsa inggris,
Satria Jannatan
Satria Jannatan 5 hours ago
Dumb Comment
Dumb Comment 8 hours ago
Finally some good price for a real estate
petasan chanel
petasan chanel 8 hours ago
Pedalaman Jakarta
lactoseintolerant 8 hours ago
As long as its only Mosques sinking I'm happy!
A DM 2 hours ago
Mosque is the fastest religious place of worship built in the world
Abrahamic Distributist
108_Wildan Fatih Gunawan
As someone from a smaller city in Borneo, it sometimes baffles me how most people in the capital have groundwater pumps and not piped water. Like, they have the grandest of infrastructures, a massive budget, but somehow even the fancy houses don't have PDAM water pipes...
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
lol all fancy house has pam. its the huge slum evryweher even right beside the most luxuries mall or hotel. still uses pumped water
Klarisa Arwena
Klarisa Arwena 8 hours ago
oh we know this was going to happen, why do you think the president plans to change the capital city?
awalnyaduasatudua berakhirdiduabelasduabelas
mitra mas pku
mitra mas pku 8 hours ago
Jakarta is sinking? Jakartans : "No, never"
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
also jakartans : free water from ground teehee
iFlakez 9 hours ago
Gaming Freak
Gaming Freak 9 hours ago
Mantapp, bagus banget pembahasannya.
Galuh 5 seconds ago
Sepi 🗿
hery Susanto
hery Susanto 9 hours ago
Yg dar Indonesia... Angkat tanganya
NotFocus 9 hours ago
ysmn Aili
ysmn Aili 10 hours ago
Question:Is it can be a risking for all people who live there?..
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
Dimaz Lahay
Dimaz Lahay 10 hours ago
Hope our goverment watch this video and try to make jakarta save from sinking
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
they can't even watch their own corruption
Literally Sugar
Literally Sugar 11 hours ago
What are jakarta "thinking" about?
D K 11 hours ago
Indonesia has had decades to build piped water shocking they haven't yet.
Abrahamic Distributist
There's a huge income inequality in the capital,means that a huge amount of the citizens are unable to pay for piped water and just take ground water
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
because why? no profit providing piped to people who won't pay for ground water
izaia txgia
izaia txgia 11 hours ago
Star fort @ 5:40
Damage Incorporated Metal43Ver
I've often thought about this; If were worried about rising sea levels do to Glacial melting. Why aren't we ming the Ice to help places that are in need of such a precious resource. We've got tankers for Oil why not for Fresh water. One could be designed to take Ice in as it could be taken in thawed & further purified with U.V.. Then it could be treated adding much needed nutrients & minerals. Just a suggestion maybe this is something NATO should have thought about some time ago.
p3el ぴいる
p3el ぴいる 12 hours ago
When you're discussing something, the first solution that came from your head sounds easy and effective usually have the most flaws
myselfrnt 12 hours ago
This is because of the governor can't solve all of these problems, too much talking but the action is 0
Abrahamic Distributist
Dont blame the governor,blame Batavians
ShihadMan 12 hours ago
The aquifer isnt getting enough water!!! We're sinking!!! What should we do!!! HoW BoUT wE CoVEr tHE gRoUnD iN CoNCreTE
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
and keep using ground water like its just free water
Who Know's?
Who Know's? 13 hours ago
Jakartan's people: Our city is sinking Kris Aquino: your City is sinking because?
Deadly Pinch
Deadly Pinch 14 hours ago
Vox has officially replaced VICE
Diaz Amandarizky
Diaz Amandarizky 14 hours ago
We always put the blame on the governor
Betty Tekeste
Betty Tekeste 14 hours ago
Putu Chris Susanto
Putu Chris Susanto 14 hours ago
Wow, this is very insightful. The situation could be irreversible, that's why moving the capital is essential
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
yes jakarta the only city which is sinking...... tokyo, bangkok, shanghai has left the chat..... yes.... 3rd world race and mentality
Jorge Sanchez
Jorge Sanchez 14 hours ago
Solution: Build piped water. Government: Let's build a wall for $40B! And it will defend against water from the side!
bansam loiem
bansam loiem 14 hours ago
The acceptable millisecond basically disarm because cheque undoubtedly signal before a petite result. elite, thin port
Fabian Pablo Vidal Maira
viva vox
Kori Jenkins
Kori Jenkins 15 hours ago
No, the Europeans are not responsible for Jakarta sinking... The population boom is the real problem.
Abrahamic Distributist
Bad urban management,to be more precise
AFRO_ CRAFT 16 hours ago
Hidup gini amat, itulah kehidupan
Old Coot
Old Coot 16 hours ago
Ok, you all. I have a question. Why is it that only the water that is pumped from the wells make the land sink? Doesn't the water provided from the pipes come from the same aquifers? Anybody know?
Expose The Truth
Expose The Truth 16 hours ago
Because Nibiru is coming!!
Calvert Atisha
Calvert Atisha 16 hours ago
Za Eni
Za Eni 17 hours ago
The average curler nationally worry because wall arthroscopically treat towards a abashed eggnog. hapless, panicky crocus
Prince V&G
Prince V&G 17 hours ago
It kinda concerns me that jakarta might go under water,bcs recently we are experiencing heavy rains and that the floods will ho up to almost a-chin-high wich is really,i was really concerned about the poor. But, there are good news that the water in jakarta is starting to shrink and also around surabaya's village, the people that lives in that village gets like 700k-2miliion dollars per person so there are so good things happening now
JEANICE AB 17 hours ago
Is not real,you look SCBD Jakarta
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
scbd in jakarta??? i thought it's somewhere beside jakarta
Mini M
Mini M 16 hours ago
SCBD is TINY- only around 50 hectares. And even there, many of the skyscrapers are extracting groundwater. What a hopeless city
omarp690 17 hours ago
Half of this worlds problems came from colonialism. The legacy of European colonialism still haunts to this day
Tanki Wolf
Tanki Wolf 17 hours ago
Proud of my history🇳🇱
Sorin Gabriel Greciuc
WAIT! WAIT! WAIT! So you're saying that lack of water caused a flowding? *BEST IRONY I EVER HEARD*
LuckyHearts777 18 hours ago
You shouldn't have children/grandchildren when you're living in poverty and don't have access to basic needs?!
Budi Sutanto
Budi Sutanto 18 hours ago
Moving the capital will help. A lot of people have jobs that's connected with the government. They will move, following the capital city.
Rey De Guzman
Rey De Guzman 18 hours ago
The solution is intuitive, yet complicated by people and their synthetic systems. If the aquifers are being depleted, hence, the natural law of tripartite altruism is in imbalance. So what do they need to do? Break the pavements and synthetic materials; reintroduce plants that would restore the aquifer reserves and restore nature's harmonious balance. Act for a complete restoration and cleansing, while producing systems that could blend in with nature, such as Permaculture. In addition, restoring Australia's deserted continent will essentially give tons of impact on its region and its surrounding regions.
Sleepy Jones
Sleepy Jones 18 hours ago
Wow the Dutch were smart people they were doing all that way back then
Kid B
Kid B 18 hours ago
So in short: We, as in the 'Dutch', found another way to ruin something for another group, yet, don't feel the need to fix it or even admit it happened
Abrahamic Distributist
I'm Indonesian and i represent the opinion of 90% of my countrymen when i say that Dutch colonialism is nowhere near the top reasons why Jakarta is sinking
Tanki Wolf
Tanki Wolf 17 hours ago
AgentWuT 19 hours ago
Who ever is peeing in the sea stop it
FusionSenpai 19 hours ago
Dang, imagine if the canals were maintained. it could be the Amsterdam of SEA.
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
after the dutch left.... the canals would be in the same condition. when will you realize the problem is the people
Martin Hiscocks
Martin Hiscocks 19 hours ago
What sea level rise? the sea cannot rise in one area and not another! there is no evidence of sea level rise in South Wales in the UK.
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
yes all ground in the world are equal....,. somehow
aryan 19 hours ago
google -------- faithfreedom chalenge google ------ faithfreedom ali sina articles google ------- internet archive ali sina debates
Avishkar Wankhede
Avishkar Wankhede 19 hours ago
Allah will save u don't worry😂
ivy ƚ
ivy ƚ 19 hours ago
subhash pni
subhash pni 19 hours ago
Indonesia n ancient culture. bali,s ugreva.garuda cudint seen
Bao Anh Nguyen
Bao Anh Nguyen 19 hours ago
As usual, there's a colonial power involved.
RedRibbonZX 19 hours ago
I think the Dutch did setup the background, but it seems this narrative focusing too much on blaming the Dutch. Consider: [1] The population growth explosion of Jakarta is not just from Jakartans alone. Indonesian government focused too much on building Jakarta. The result: many people from across Indonesia want to live in the capital city. [2] Ground water is seen as cheaper option. Build the ground water pump, then free water for live. With piped water you'd pay subscription and consumption fee. As long as ground water pumping is not banned, majority of Jakartans would prefer this cheaper option. [3] Obviously there are piped water infrastructures, which the government failed to expand to support the explosive population growth.
Tanki Wolf
Tanki Wolf 17 hours ago
Balbal Bulbul
Balbal Bulbul 19 hours ago
Ngarep amat keknya jakarta tenggelem nih cebong 😅 iri dengki yg luar biasa.. 😅 tp kalo ngomongin ttg banjir, bnyk daerah di indo yg juga pd kebanjiran woyyy 😅 jng pd pura2 buta dah..
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
ini orang kebanyakan makan taii anjink. isi pikirannya ga ada mutu
myselfrnt 12 hours ago
Gaada hubungannya ke iri dengki anjir, itu cuma ngebahas mengapa Jakarta sering kebanjiran. Jangan terlalu suudzon biasa aja. Masih bagus juga ini ngejelasin yg bahkan media lokal aja ga pernah ngebahas2 soal ginian jadi biar pada tau. Knp ga ngebahas kota yg lain, karena Jakarta ini sebagai ibukota jadinya disorot.
Alvis R
Alvis R 14 hours ago
Tapi emng fakta sih beberapa tahun Jakarta bakal tenggelam, itu berdasarkan dari permukaan tanah Jakarta yang terus menurun 5-10 cm pertahun, di akibatkan sama pemakaian air tanah, jadi air tanah terus diambil hal hasil banyak rongga tanah yg kosong didalam yang membuat tanah itu semakin menurun apalagi sistem peresapan air di ibukota kurang baik, well Jakarta tenggelam itu benar bukan Channel ini iri dengki, bahkan banyak media” asing maupun lokal yang sudah di beritakan
In Out
In Out 19 hours ago
What goverment doing?!
dalton gabel
dalton gabel 20 hours ago
Anybody feel like they've had this video in their recommended for months just to find out it has only been there for 1 week lol
Anangh M K
Anangh M K 20 hours ago
I thought it was due to global warming ,,,,
warambak 20 hours ago
Jakarta banjir; Anis ; Air hujan itu masuk k tnah bukan d buang k laut...😐
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
@myselfrnt sana banjir aja ampe tenggelam yg penting kan sholat... bego pilih bego. bule belanda udh g peduli ama nasib warga bodoh yg bahkan bisa mereka kuasai
Roy Saputro
Roy Saputro 20 hours ago
Ya Tuhan Semoga Allah ampuni dan tolong kita semua amin
Nothing To See Here
Nothing To See Here 20 hours ago
Bisa salah belanda gimana?
Roy Saputro
Roy Saputro 20 hours ago
Mungkin gara gara belanda?!
Manoj Thapa
Manoj Thapa 20 hours ago
why can’t they make drinkable water out of the sea water by purifying it or something 🤔
Perfect Fresco
Perfect Fresco 19 hours ago
Desalination is too expensive
Shin Shu
Shin Shu 21 hour ago
Texposure It
Texposure It 21 hour ago
Itu Cuma Genangan Bukan Banjir.....
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
cuman ludah
Khor Jing Yan
Khor Jing Yan 21 hour ago
Remember, 10MILLION people lives in jakarta, in an area about 7000km^2. Imagine tokyo with canals and no sky scrapper, no subways, no water supplies.
Khor Jing Yan
Khor Jing Yan Hour ago
@Miranda lambert in urban jakarta it isn't, jakarta is more crowded even without skyscrappers. Around 10000ppl per square kilometers.
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
tokyo is way more crowded and expensive than jakarta
MIM NAHAR 21 hour ago
Nothing To See Here
@Miranda lambert so drinking water is bad?
Miranda lambert
Miranda lambert 2 hours ago
@Nothing To See Here their own fault
Nothing To See Here
Nothing To See Here 20 hours ago
Wdym nice? Their country capital city is sinking and respond it nice?