On the island of Borneo, the construction works of Nusantara are continuing, which according to the plans of the President of Indonesia Joko Widodo should become the new capital of the country. According to plans, the new city should be inaugurated on August 17, the day on which the anniversary of Indonesian independence is celebrated. However, it will take a long time to finish building it: according to the Indonesian government it will be completed in 2045, the year of the 100th anniversary of the nation’s independence.
In 2019 Indonesia announced that it would move its capital out of the island of Java, the most important and influential of its archipelago, where Jakarta is located (Indonesia’s territory covers over 17,000 islands between the extreme southern Asia and Oceania, among which the largest are Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Borneo and New Guinea). In January 2022, then, the Indonesian parliament had approved the law defining the move: the works had started last July.
Jakarta is the current capital, inhabited by 10 million people, congested by traffic, very polluted, without parks or cultural spaces, devastated by frequent floods and is even sinking. Furthermore, the island of Java is where the vast majority of Indonesian power and wealth is concentrated: depriving it of the capital is an attempt, among other things, to meet the demands of the inhabitants of the rest of the archipelago.
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The new capital will be called Nusantara, a word that in Javanese, one of the languages spoken in Indonesia, means “archipelago”, a name thought to reflect the geography of the country. The construction site for the new city is located in the eastern part of Kalimantan, the Indonesian area of Borneo (Borneo is the large Asian island whose territory is divided between the states of Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia).
In addition to being sparsely populated, Borneo is less exposed to natural disasters, unlike other areas of the country such as Java, Sulawesi, Bali and Lombok, where there have been earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions in the last five years. It is also geographically located in the center of the country and already has a strong infrastructure network and growing cities. The move of the capital will cost the equivalent of about 28 billion euros.
About 56,000 hectares on the island of Borneo were initially used to build the new capital. The decision was harshly criticized by environmental activists: in Borneo there is one of the oldest rainforests in the world and it has long been damaged by deforestation operations, mainly due to the creation of palm oil plantations, with serious consequences on the environment and biodiversity.
– Read also: The exceptional island of Java
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