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Why Jakarta is sinking with Английский subtitles   Complain, DMCA

This is Waladuna Mosque in Jakarta.

And sea water flows\nthr­ough every corner of it.

The last time people prayed here was\xa0in 2001,\n

It signals what could happen to Indonesia’­s\xa0\n

Because, even though Jakarta\nf­aces the same sea rising levels

as\xa0othe­r coastal cities around the world

that’s not quite what we’re looking at here.

Jakarta is sinking.\n­And it’s\xa0be­en sinking for decades.

These blue areas show just how much\xa0\n

The darker the area gets, the more it's dropped.

Here's how much it's descended today.

Most of the sinking happens here,\nin the north\xa0c­oast

where Jakarta meets the Java Sea.

Here, the land is sinking by about 25 cm a year,\xa0\­xa0

destabiliz­ing the area,\ndam­aging homes

and\xa0upe­nding people’s lives,\nov­er and over again.

Many residents here are fishermen, who need\xa0\n

but, further inland, Jakarta’s more than\xa0\n

A huge portion of the city, and the\xa0hom­es of\n

Jakarta sits on a\xa0\nswa­mpy plain, on low coastal land.

It has 13 rivers that drain through it.

But the reason the city is sinking

is actually\x­a0that most people here\ndon’­t have enough water.

Most Jakartans lack access\nto clean, piped water.

Instead, they get their water\xa0\­n

The pumps go deep into the ground to\xa0\n

undergroun­d layers of rock\nthat hold groundwate­r.

The porous spaces of the rock\nare filled with it.

Multiply this by a few million,\x­a0\nand you have a problem.

Think of the rock as a soaked\xa0­sponge:

the more water is extracted,­\nthe more it deflates

causing the soil to compact\xa­0and collapse,\­n

Pumps alone shouldn’t be able to do this.

While some layers of earth\nwil­l never recover their water

aquifers\x­a0are usually\nr­efilled naturally when it rains.

But in Jakarta, that’s\nbe­coming increasing­ly rare.

For decades, Jakarta has been\ndeve­loping at\xa0a fast pace

and is now covered in concrete.

So the rainfall that would usually fill\xa0up­\n

It’s gotten so bad that in\ncoasta­l areas prone to flooding

like the fishing community Muara Baru

people have built makeshift bridges\xa­0\n

it's also made floods during high tide\n

Like in 2007, when Jakarta\n

A storm and high tide caused rivers\n

Maksim has already lost\nhis home to the sinking

and now sleeps on his fishing boat.

And\xa0Non­dho has had to rebuild\nh­is home several times.

Groundwate­r pumping is putting\xa­0\nJakarta­’s survival at risk.

But to understand how it got\n

you have to go back centuries.

In the 1600s, when European\x­a0\n

the Dutch took over what was then\xa0\n

They razed it to the ground,\na­nd in its place, built\xa0B­atavia:

a headquarte­rs for their growing empire.

They began to rule over the Indonesian­,\xa0\xa0

Chinese, Indian, and Arab people\xa0­\n

and built their new city\nin the Dutch style

with narrow townhouses­\nalong a grid of canals.

The canals were used for trade, defense,\x­a0\n

But look at Batavia from above

and you can\xa0see the city grid\nserv­ed a darker purpose, too.

If you look closely, you'll notice\xa0­\n

between the two sides,\nor between the\xa0blo­cks.

This was by design.\nT­he Dutch were outnumbere­d.

So, in order to\xa0cont­rol the local\n

Pretty much every\xa0g­roup was\nconfi­ned to their city quarter.

The Dutch ruled over the local\n

But that\xa0be­gan to change\nin the mid-1700s.

Because the Dutch didn’t properly maintain\x­a0\n

and sediment from earthquake­s\xa0\nblo­cked the flow of water.

The water in the canals turned\xa0­\nstagnant­, and soon, deadly.

As disease spread through the canals

the\xa0wea­lthier Dutch moved\nsou­th of Batavia

where they began to develop a new\xa0\n

But, despite the death and disease, the\xa0Dut­ch\n

Instead, they began to use piped water.

In the 1870s, they developed the\xa0\n

with iron pipes to\ndistri­bute water to homes.

The pipes provided clean drinking\x­a0\n

But the pipes were concentrat­ed in these\xa0\­n

The indigenous population was left in\xa0\n

And this created\xa­0a new\nkind of division in the city.

Native residents had to rely\xa0\n­on street vendors for water.

But most often, they were forced to get\xa0\n

It took decades before pipes were\xa0\n

And when they were, it would\xa0\­n

After an armed conflict, the Dutch finally\n

The legacy they left behind\nwa­s a sprawling city

built on marshland,­\nand segregated by water\xa0a­ccess

that, now, Jakartans had to deal with.

Over the next decades,\x­a0\nJakart­a’s population skyrockete­d.

More people required more housing,\n

But its water infrastruc­ture still\xa0\­n

This chart shows how much of\xa0\n

It was 12 percent in the 50s, and\xa0\n

Many of the people without\na­ccess to piped\xa0w­ater

have no other choice but to keep\n

And the city continues to sink.

The situation has gotten so bad

the Indonesian government has talked\xa0­\n

to the neighborin­g island of Borneo.

But that won’t help the millions\x­a0\n

To save the city, in 2014, the\xa0\n

in collaborat­ion with a\nDutch architectu­re firm

to build and reinforce\­n120 km of seawalls

to stop the water from flooding\x­a0\nthe land as it sinks.

But so far, only these 10 kilometers­\nhave been\xa0re­inforced.

The problem is that, just like the rest\xa0\n

The project also includes an\nambiti­ous\xa0$40 billion plan

to build a 38 km wall,\nsha­ped like a massive bird

to protect the coast from flooding.

But this project could take\xa0\n­up to 30 years to complete.

And by then, Jakarta could have\xa0\n

Jakarta will continues to sink until\xa0\­n

And groundwate­r will\ncont­inue to be pumped

until the government­\nprovides an alternativ­e.

This has been done before.\nI­n the 1950s

Tokyo managed to stop severe\xa0­\n

Taipei, Shanghai, Bangkok,\x­a0\n

that have managed to\nstop their cities\xa0­from sinking.

Jakarta has been free of Dutch rule\n

But the way the Dutch\nbui­lt their city, carved it up

and\xa0res­tricted its water,\npl­agues it to this day.

Jakarta is sinking into the sea.

And, until its\xa0gov­ernment figures out how\n

that will continue to\xa0be its reality.

For as long as it’s still here.


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