Indonesian levee project serves industry over community, study says

Indonesian levee project serves industry over community, study says

JAKARTA — A highway and levee project touted as a solution to coastal flooding in communities along the north coast of Indonesia’s Java Island will shortchange those very communities and benefit manufacturing companies, according to a new study. Work has begun on the toll road that will run 27 kilometers (17 miles) east from Semarang, the capital of Central Java province, to the district of Demak. The road will include a 10-km (6-mi) section atop a levee on reclaimed land, and is expected to cut the travel time from one hour at present to 25 minutes. The 15.3 trillion rupiah ($1 billion) project is part of a slate of nationally strategic infrastructure programs. The project is also expected to prevent tidal flooding in the area, where decades of development have cause the land to sink, in some places below sea level, affecting more than 6,800 hectares (16,800 acres) of land. Land subsidence is a major problem along Java’s north coast, including in the capital, Jakarta. But the new project could end up having the opposite effect, exacerbating land subsidence and leading to an increase in flooding, according to the findings from an interdisciplinary study carried out between August 2019 and February this year. “This project will bring forth all kinds of environmental injustice,” said Hotmauli Sidabalok, a legal expert at Soegijapranata Catholic University in Semarang and one of the researchers behind the study that was published April 6. The Java transportation network map, with roads in yellow. Image courtesy of…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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