The Jakarta Post
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has confirmed he will continue with river dredging as part of the ongoing river restoration project to mitigate floods, which involves installing concrete walls along riverbanks.
Anies said on Wednesday that officials had faced difficulties because of a lack of access to the rivers. However, the officials had worked to gradually improve access to the sites and, hence, the project could be continued, he added.
“We're focusing on deepening the rivers and improving the management of water in Jakarta, so that Jakarta will be free from floods,” he said.
Separately, urban activists and experts from the Forum Kampung Kota (Urban Village Forum) called on Anies to end the project and find an alternative that was “greener, effective in the long term and more emancipative and humane.”
“There are plenty of studies that show that concretization […] actually triggers more problems,” said the forum in a press statement received by The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
The forum said that river dredging not only damages natural ecosystems, but often also takes a toll on people living along riverbanks as they are commonly evicted in order to carry out the project.
They hoped that Jakarta could be a pioneer in finding “bottom-up” alternatives that would provide justice for all people.
“We want to remind [Anies] that such a [bottom-up] way is in keeping with Anies’ promise during the campaign: Maju Kotanya, Bahagia Warganya [making a developed city for happier people],” the forum stated.