News Is Flooding In
It's the rainy season again
and this is my annual rant because as per usual there are leaks in our roof, residents of North Jakarta sink or swim, trees topple, and traffic grinds to a sodden halt.
As usual, much of the blame is accorded to folk who dump garbage wherever they can't be seen. It's certainly a major factor but excuses are made. Folk know no better because they are poor, but never mind. Our beloved leader, Gov. Fuzzy Bodoh, isn't about to make their lives worse by enforcing the 2007 city bylaw on public order
[which] stipulates that people who throw or pile garbage on roads, sidewalks, rivers, green strips, parks or other public places face fines of between Rp,100,000
(c.$10) and Rp.2 million or between 10 and 60 days’ imprisonment.He said
that it doesn't solve the problem
[because it] is not effective to fine people whose economic standing is so low.
How come the poor get blamed when rich folk know no better - and can afford to pay?
So what does solve the problem?
True, there are major works underway to dredge rivers, raise embankments and build the East and West Flood canals. However, one of his solutions has been to send off a fleet of 400 fishermen
(pic), in a Herculean effort to remove 14,000 cubic squares of garbage polluting Jakarta Bay
That was a week or so ago. Daft question, but are they giving up their main livelihood, fishing, every day?
This is all getting boring as it's been said by me
for the BBC* and others so many times, but how about calling a complete halt to the building of yet more malls and office towers? A mere 9.8% of Jakarta's land area given over to green spaces, rather than the 30% 'mandated' in the city's spatial plan. The myopic and rapacious private sector with their handsomely rewarded city bureaucrats gobbled up parks, playgrounds
and sports fields and now have to build their "soulless modern and post-modern buildings" in graveyards
Jakarta is doomed as a viable city. I posited this scenario
a couple of years ago, but I now think I was being unduly optimistic.
Some 40% of the city lies below sea level and it is sinking
at a rate of up to 20 centimetres a year thanks to the uncontrolled extraction of groundwater and the weight of new buildings. Coupled with this is the rising sea level, which the talkfest in Copenhagen next month won't do a thing to 'solve' - King Canute couldn't
Unless the lowlanders of Holland were to return and govern the city I can't see any other solution but to abandon it to Mother Nature.
Perhaps the Guv'ner has intuited this. He's now initiated an urban transmigration programme
whereby 100-200 families are sent to less-populated areas of Indonesia.
We'll have to wait and see how these families settle in, especially the 28 families sent this year to earthquake-prone Bengkulu in West Sumatra.
At least, this time, he's not thinking short-term. If Jakarta's population is about 15 million, at this rate it will take 18,750 years to move everyone out.
If there hasn't been yet another power cut, will the last one to leave please switch the lights off.
*Quicktime 5 required.