Indonesia announced Monday that it will be relocating its capital from Jakarta, which is slowly sinking into the sea.
The new capital city will be in the East Kalimantan province on Borneo island, President Joko Widodo said at a news conference in Jakarta’s presidential palace, according to The Associated Press.
“We couldn’t continue to allow the burden on Jakarta and Java island to increase in terms of population density,” he said. “Economic disparities between Java and elsewhere would also increase.”
The transition is expected to take a decade, and CNN Indonesia said the total cost could be $34 billion.
Jakarta is a huge metropolis built on swampy land, and it has been sinking for decades. Rising sea levels caused by climate change are adding to the problem. So is the continued extraction of groundwater, the rising population and congestion.
About 10 million people live in Jakarta, with 30 million in the area.
Widodo said it was necessary to move the capital because Jakarta could no longer be the center of all life for Indonesia, a vast archipelago nation.
The idea of moving the capital from Jakarta, home to 10 million people, has been discussed since Indonesia achieved independence from the Dutch over 70 years ago, but the pace at which the island is sinking — one of the fastest rates in the world — has reportedly added incentive.
Parts of the city reportedly may be entirely submerged by 2050.