JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian President Joko Widodo says he wants to see the speedy construction of a giant sea wall to prevent the low-lying capital of Jakarta from sinking under the sea.
His comments to The Associated Press lend renewed backing and urgency to a slow-moving, contested mega project.
Widodo is up against a tight timetable. A leading expert reiterated Saturday that if the ground keeps sinking at the current rate, one-third of Jakarta could be submerged by 2050. The sinking is mainly caused by over-extraction of groundwater and more buildings, including high-rises, pressing down on swampy ground.
The existential crisis facing the city of 10 million people is a culmination of unfettered development. Rising sea levels from a heated-up planet will compound the problem in decades to come.