Fact of Jakarta’s Geoenvironment condition


Jakarta today facing so many problems, I’m trying to proposed some tricks, but before I just give some result from international research about geoenvironmental problems in Jakarta.

Land subsidence. Has a population of approximately 12 million, land subsidence is a serious problem in Jakarta, with estimated subsidence rates of 1–10 cm/year. Abidin HZ, Andreas H, Djaja R, Darmawan D, Gamal M. Land subsidence characteristics of Jakarta between 1997 and 2005, as estimated using GPS surveys. GPS Solut 2007.

Groundwater contaminant. Groundwater potential and quality has decreased and land subsidence has occurred because of intensive groundwater pumping in urban areas. The direction of groundwater flow is now downward in the coastal areas. The decline in hydraulic potential has also caused the intrusion of seawater and shallow groundwater into the deep groundwater. The distributions of the Mn and NO3-N concentrations in groundwater suggest the intrusion of these contaminants from shallow to deep aquifers by downward groundwater flow. These results also suggest the possibility of future contaminant transport with the discharge of deep groundwater to the sea after the recovery of groundwater potential at coastal areas. Mn concentration in groundwater on the north–south transect in Jakarta. The concentration was highest at the coastal area, at N10 μM at a depth of −150 m. The hydraulic potential was lowest at this point.  The concentrations of Mn and NO3-N were relatively high in the coastal urban area. Onodera, Shin-ichi. 2009. Erratum to “Effects of intensive urbanization on the intrusion of shallow groundwater into deep groundwater: Examples from Bangkok and Jakarta”. Science of the total environment, pp. 3209-3217

Decline of biodiversity in bay. From 1937 to 2005, Jakarta Bay received increasing amounts of sewage from the greater Jakarta area, as well as increased sediment input from the deforested West Java hinterland. Predatory gastropods and numerous mollusc species associated with carbonate (reef) substrate have vanished from Jakarta Bay, among which many edible species. van der Meij, Sancia E.T. 2009. Decline of the Jakarta Bay molluscan fauna linked to human impact. Marine pollution bulletin, pp. 101-107

Eutrophication and sedimentation. Over the years, the waters of Jakarta Bay show an increase in eutrophication and sedimentation levels, which has had a documented impact on marine communities (Brown, 1986; Verstappen, 1988; Tomascik et al., 1993; Marques et al., 1997; Renema, 2008). Coral reefs became degraded as a result of increased sedimentation, nutrient loading, and chemical contamination (Rees et al., 1999; Williams et al., 2000). Such chronic, continuing disturbances have a negative impact on nearby coral reefs. Little recovery has been documented after these types of disturbances (Connell, 1997).

Geological cross-section of Jakarta. Source: Onodera, 2009

From Air pollution till Solutions source is: Steinberg, Florian. 2007. Jakarta: Environmental problems and sustainability. Habitat International, pp. 354-365

Air pollution. Air pollution remains one of Jakarta’ s worrisome aspect. The health impacts of poor air quality are considerable. In 2002, 32% of the days had an unhealthy state of air quality. Seventy percent of this air pollution originates from motor vehicles, 30% from industries; lead and CO2 increased 1990–2000, while there was a slight decrease with suspended particulate matter. Smog and increasing concentration of pollutants have aggravated the situation. It has been calculated that in 2003, the economic impact of air pollution—expressed in health related costs and loss in work time—amounted to US$ 634 million in Indonesia as a whole, and Jakarta is certainly taking a major share in this.

Traffic. The existence of some 1.3 million private cars, 2.6 million motorcycles and 800,000 buses and lorries (2002 data representing a 10-fold increase since 1985) on Jakarta’s roads illustrate the amount of traffic that is circulating in Jakarta, a city which has a rather limited road space available (less then 10% of its surface while internationally in ‘‘functioning’’ urban areas a 20–25% standard prevails).

Housing. Economic recovery starting in 2002–2003 has resulted in a new increase of demand and real estate activity. In 2003, the annual growth of the real estate sector was 15% and is set to continue in an upward trend. Low and middle priced housing is now selling again like hot cake. There is also a soaring demand for luxury condos. Luxury complexes—like the Pakubuwono in Kebayoran Baru—not only are meant to cater for the rich of the country but also want to attract and bring back money that the rich Chinese community had stashed away overseas, for instance in Singapore, Hongkong.

Water. Jakarta still does not have a good coverage of piped water and good clean water remains a luxury for many Jakartans. A mere 40% of the supply are estimated to be piped, some 40% through bore wells, and some 20% through traditional water vendors who still operate in the poor Kampungs were improvement measures are yet awaited. The two big private operators—joint ventures PT Thames PAM and PT PAM Lyonnaise Jaya—are trying hard to deliver a modern water supply service, but flaws in the management and low rates are said to be causes of deficient performance of these two providers. The increasing demand for water has led to over-utilization of the ground water resources through excessive pumping. This in turn has resulted in a dropping of the natural water levels and subsequent seawater intrusion in North Jakarta which has led to a deteriorating ground water quality in many areas. Occasionally, the public is being blamed for ‘‘overpumping’’ of ground water but seemingly this is due to viable high building development sector.

Sewerage. Jakarta’s population produces 1.2 billion liters of sewerage every day, or far above the 600,000 l that can be handled by the sewerage treatment plants in Pulo Gadung, East Jakarta, Duri Kosambi, West Jakarta and Setiabudi, South Jakarta. In the absence of sufficient public sewers and treatment facilities, many Jakartans rely on private septic tanks, many of them inadequately designed. Today this system of an integrated low-cost sewerage treatment lies forgotten and unutilized. Instead of recurring to such already existing systems of decentralized sewerage management, the sewerage company PD Jaya names the shortage of funding as the principal reason for not being able to expand the coverage, the issue at heart seems to be that there is no coherent sewerage policy and a lack of innovative thinking. Linking up with the water sector and specifically for charging for sewerage services would enable different options of financing and management which could help to avert the growing threat of an ecological disaster.

Solid waste. Solid waste collection is another major environmental issue in Jakarta. The garbage crisis is manifested by some 23,400m3 of garbage per day of which only 14,700 are disposed by the City Sanitation Office. The remaining garbage is being disposed by consumers or neighborhood waste collectors, either on informal neighborhood disposal sites or in rivers and canals. Jakarta’s major waste dumping ground—no sanitary land fill—at Bantar Gebang (in the sub-urban town of Bekasi) only absorbed some 6000 tons/day, but had to close in 2004 due capacity limitations and the massive environmental impacts which became subject of many protests by residents of Bekasi. In 2007, Jakarta plans to copy Singapore’s example and buy waste incinerators. It is planned to buy four units (at a cost of US$ 550 million each) which each will have a capacity of 2000 tons of waste per day. These efforts seem to head into the right direction as far as macro-management of solid waste is concerned, but there is no clear strategy yet for the collection (and intermediate storage) of domestic garbage which is collected by informal garbage collectors at ward level. Equally, the issue hazardous waste is still of sizeable dimension. Hazardous waste is a further threat to Jakarta with chemical reactivity, toxicity, corrosiveness or tendency to explode.

Flood. Flood control, e.g. the anticipation and control of floods, is difficult in a city-region with 40% of its territory below sea level, and its many rivers carrying massive amounts of water from the nearby mountains towards the sea. Even in a ‘‘normal’’ year, some 10–15,000 Jakartans may have to flee to or be evacuated to emergency accommodation (at schools and mosques) because of seasonal floods affecting Jakarta. The causes for flooding in Jakarta go beyond the geographical difficulties of this water-rich region, and are mostly man-made. The main causes are: (i) lack of carrying capacity of flood control infrastructure; (ii) reduction of capacity of existing systems, due uncontrolled garbage dumping; and (iii) reduction of rainwater absorption due to urbanization and deforestation. The 14,000m3 of household garbage and 900,000m3 of industrial waste are emptied into Jakarta’s rivers each year, and the fact that this is not cleared by the authorities or the adjacent communities, substantially contribute to increase the probability of regular flooding. And, not surprisingly, the authorities have not been reluctant to put the blame on this most vulnerable group of citizens, the informal settlers. Thirdly, the reduction of water absorption is due to uncontrolled urbanization in the city and suburbs. Among others, the huge Kapuk Indah area, the traditional water catchment area of North-West Jakarta (near its international airport), has been reduced substantially, and this reduction in catchment area is seen among the prime causes of the massive flooding. Equally, deforestation and new real estate colonies in the neighboring districts have had additional impacts in those areas where majority of rainfall occurs.

Natural hazard and disaster. Natural hazards like rising seawater levels and the occurrence of heavy tropical storms are real threats for which Jakarta seems unprepared. Additional issues need to be seen in the possibility of a major earthquake that could hit Jakarta since Java is part of a seismically active region. However, there is virtually no preparedness and no consciousness about the issue of disaster management. Man-made disasters are also increasingly possible. Various sources have described Jakarta’s many high-rise buildings, and in particular the government-owned ones, as death traps. Fire protection, although inexpensive, is widely unavailable as the regular incidents of deadly fires illustrate.

City management and administration. The performance of city’s government officers is under constant fire of criticism. Trust in the competency of the city government is challenged on the basis of lack of confidence and professionalism. Efforts of reform, like a digital cash-less modern parking system, or the introduction of web-based on-line application service for permits and licences, or on-line payment of taxes, and the like, are still distant dreams. E-governance, though technically feasible, is not on the political agenda yet despite public demands for more transparency. One-stop service for investors, a new pet project, influenced by the Yudohono government (2004–2009) towards an improved business climate in Indonesia made its first appearance in 2005. ‘‘petty’’ crime, drug related crime, a wide-spread drug addiction and more open prostitution has drawn the attention of the public and the authorities alike.

Solutions. Jakarta claims to be on its way to ‘‘world city’’ status. But to classify in this regard it will not only be the kind of services it offers, or the balance between economic, social, political and environmental development, but its enlightened management (see Ng & Hills, 2003). These are criteria which could demonstrate ‘‘sustainability’’ and quality of life. The dynamic growth of Jakarta certainly confirms the notion that it is an engine of growth and a producer of rich socio-economic, human, cultural capital. But in regard to the environmental capital it lags behind. In fact, the current development trends cast serious doubts on sustainability of the environmental fabric, and this will have serious repercussions for the economy, and the social and political conditions. Since sustainability needs to be understood as a holistic approach to environment, economic, social development, governance and leadership becomes the overarching key issue for the future. To achieve sustainable urbanization (DFID, 2002), enhanced leadership, more strategic vision, democracy and public participation, and will require the restoration of people’s pride in themselves.

Towards sustainable city. I have some effective tricks to make it work. Increasing parking tax in down town till 1000% for vehicle. De-agglomeration, moving all bussines based on internet service to suburb region (debotabek – Depok, Bogor, Tangerang, Bekasi). Changing function into two main function of Jakarta city; first: Government public service, second: Education. Decreasing amount of Shoping Mall with only 5 left, change to green space (e.g. garden). Established bus city integrated mass transportation replace metromini and others. Pulling down sky-building (50%) and change into water catchment area. It seems impossible, but with powerful leadership it could be happen!



  1. menurut saya ide memindahkan Ibu Kota ke daerah lain bisa jadi satu solusi juga 😀
    akan jadi seperti New York dan George Washington…

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