Flooding As A Part Of Urban Sprawl In Jakarta

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Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, is a coastal city northwest of Java Island with a dense population of nearly 10.7 million. Flooding and landslides occur frequently near the coastlines, and this is largely from human activity through urbanization (Abidin et al., 2012). Urban sprawl is a key concept that describes how several aspects including natural habitats, land in agriculture and overall sanitation degrade over time. Sprawl must be minimized, especially in densely populated cities like Jakarta, and to do so it is crucial to understand the factors that lead to these weather-related events (Dearden & Mitchell, 2016).

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Coastal flooding typically occurs in regions with high rates of subsidence, which measures the collapsing of land. In Jakarta, sea levels rise up to 6 cm per year indicating that land is sinking and flooding is prevalent (Climate Change Refugees, date). Some aspects even lead to the sinking of cities, such as coastal erosion and groundwater extraction through poor water management. For instance, this has been a problem in Indonesia ever since the early 2000s, because of the government privatizing water. High tariffs have led many businesses to extract water, while pipelines in poorer communities have been restricted (Kurniasih, 2020). Additionally, Jakarta has frequent rain seasons, and most of this water does not pass through city drains as the draining system is inadequate (Sant, 2019). Coastal flooding and landslides are life-threatening and greatly reduce the quality of life of residents in Jakarta.

Through the process of urbanization, human activity has directly changed land use and cover, especially by replacing landscapes with buildings and impervious land surfaces (Suman et al., 2018). Many of the communities residing along the Ciliwung River in Jakarta, a major river that spans into West Java, are affected by recurring floods (Padawangi, 2015). Overflowing of water in the Ciliwung River’s upstream has narrowed the River immensely, and much of this is a result of changes that naturally arise in society through urbanization. Settlements and villas were initially created through land conversion and to accommodate for the rising population in Indonesia (Bosman et al., 2018). The stark contrast between the dry and rainy seasons in Jakarta cause uneven water flow and even clogs, increasing the likelihood of floods and landslides (Sant, 2019).

Through a lack of proper water management, the Ciliwung River is contaminated by sewage, industrial pollution and waste (Padawangi, 2015). This is a source of water for many in Indonesia, demonstrating the problem of water management and sanitation. In an urban centre in Java, nearly 89% of water sources were contaminated, which is deeply concerning. There may even be a correlation with the Ciliwung River as it is a significant source of water in Indonesia (Cronin et al., 2017). This increases the risk of infection, which could lead to reproductive and liver disease, among many others (The World Factbook, 2018). If action is not taken, the Ciliwung River is likely to continue shrinking in size because of urbanization, and the nearby communities will suffer too (Bosman et al., 2018).

Ultimately, in cities like Jakarta, flooding is in large part because of human settlement through urbanization. Flooding and landslides have many dangerous effects on the global environment and greatly increase the risk of contamination among humans. The issues of water management need to be properly addressed and action must be taken toward a cleaner, safer future. 

16 December 2021

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