Evi Sofiyah, Discipline of Geography, Environment and Population, University of Adelaide
This article focuses on the deprived environmental quality of the Jakarta Bay coastal area as a result of anthropogenic activities. The anthropogenic activities in this case occur in both the inland and coastal areas. This article reports observational results concerning several natural and social features of Jakarta Bay coastal area. The features include physical and biological aspects, water quality, the demographic profile and related social issues. Besides the issue of environmental quality in general, this article also exposes the cause of the bay’s environmental quality deterioration.
Jakarta Bay is a low-lying area in the north-west of Java Island facing the Java Sea to the north. The coastline of Jakarta Bay is approximately 72km long and fringes an agglomeration of 13 cities namely Jabodetabek or Jakarta Metropolitan Area. In 2010, the population of the region reached 28 million inhabitants. Also in 2010, the region achieved the highest GDP in the country. The economic achievement and the substantial population have left a strong development footprint in the Jakarta Bay environment.
Intensive anthropogenic activities inland and on the coast generate a significant amount of refuse. In the absence of an adequate environmental management system, refuse is to some extent abandoned and transported to Jakarta Bay. The 15 rivers criss-crossing the region are the key routes for transporting refuse to the bay. Such refuse includes garbage, nutrients, heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants. As a result, the bay is experiencing deterioration in environmental quality.
Furthermore, development in the region demands space and materials. To fulfil the need for space, land-use conversion has occurred in the coastal area. The area covered by mangrove forest has significantly decreased as the result of conversion into tambaks, settlements and for other purposes. The need for space also leads to reclamation of the environment. Sandy beaches and mangrove areas are reclaimed and in addition, this practice generates a substantial social issue. Exploitation of sand and coral reefs is carried out in response to demand for materials, and this causes erosion and vanishing of several small islands. Excessive groundwater extraction has also occurred inland and in the coastal areas. This action, along with other anthropogenic activities, generates considerable subsidence of the land. Such subsidence increases the magnitude of flooding to the low-lying area that is already vulnerable to inundation. The risk of flooding increases with the poor drainage system and limited capacity of the catchment in the inland areas.
These anthropogenic activities clearly have left a negative footprint in the Jakarta Bay coastal area. Moreover, the absence of an adequate environmental management system that regulates the anthropogenic activities worsens the environmental impact.
This article is prepared by Evi Sofiyah, a Phd scholar at Discipline of Geography, Environment and Population, University of Adelaide, Australia