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Jakarta Post

Jakartans question land reclamation

  • Dewanti A. Wardhani

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, October 23, 2015   /  06:24 pm

The Jakarta administration was showered with criticism on Thursday during a public consultation discussing the draft bylaw on Jakarta north coast strategic area spatial planning.

The draft bylaw specifically regulates spatial planning on the planned 17 man-made islets off the coast.

While the draft bylaw is under deliberation, the city administration has issued construction permits for the islets. In fact, construction of Islet D and part of Islet C has finished while Islet G construction is ongoing.

Deputy director of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), Zaenal Muttaqien, said that the organization maintained its standpoint of rejecting land reclamation, as it posed various threats to the environment.

'€œJakarta will face an environmental disaster if the city administration continues the land reclamation project,'€ Zaenal said during the consultation at City Hall.

Zaenal said that ocean currents would change and increase, causing sea water to flow onto land and cause flooding.

He further said that land reclamation would not offer a solution for land subsidence, as had been repeatedly mentioned by Governor Basuki '€œAhok'€ Tjahaja Purnama.

Many people have mistaken the reclamation of 17 islets for the giant sea wall proposed under the National Capital Integrated Coastal Development by Dutch (NCICD) consultants. The giant sea wall has been touted by the consultants as a solution to land subsidence, but reclamation of the 17 islets is not part of the giant sea wall.

Many scientists oppose both reclamation and the giant sea wall, citing environmental concerns, including island loss from sand mining. They have also said the solution to land subsidence is stopping groundwater extraction.

Other participants during the consultation pointed out the many problems involving land reclamation, such as undersea cables and sea traffic. The Transportation Ministry'€™s Tanjung Priok Port Authority representative, Indra, for example, said that the land reclamation would hamper ships traveling to and from the port.

'€œThe islets will be built along the north coast. Meanwhile, there are a number of seaports along the north coast, from Muara Angke, Sunda Kelapa, Tanjung Priok to Marunda. This requires a permit from the Transportation Ministry because this concerns the safety and security of seafaring,'€ Indra said.

Further, Indonesian Association of Submarine Communications Cable Systems representative Suherna warned that many telecommunication provider cables were located under a number of the planned islets.

'€œThere are many cables, for example from Indosat, XL, Telkomsel, and Matrix, that would be affected by land reclamation. If the developers are not careful, communication between islands and countries may be completely cut off,'€ he said.

Suherna said that developers and telecommunication providers had not agreed upon an arrangement to move the cables, yet a number of developers had already begun construction.

'€œFrom my understanding, construction is not supposed to begin without an agreement, because the consequences are very serious,'€ he said.

About 1,000 fishermen in Muara Angke, North Jakarta, have complained that reclamation of Islet D and C has forced them to sail further because water near the islets had gone murky with white mud, killing the fish.

Prominent engineer Sawarendro, one of the main consultants for the draft bylaw who also works for Witteveen+Bos, a consultant for Islet C and D by developer PT Kapuk Naga Indah, acknowledged that negative effects may come with land reclamation, but said that such effects can be '€œavoided with good planning and implementation'€.

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