The congested, polluted current capital is prone to earthquakes and rapidly sinking into the Java Sea.
PENAJAM PASER UTARA, East Kalimantan — Orange-red ground has been broken in the jungle of East Borneo, where the Indonesian government has begun construction of its new capital city.
Officials promise a “sustainable forest city” that puts the environment at the heart of development and aims to be carbon-neutral by 2045. But the project has been plagued by criticism from environmentalists and Indigenous communities, who say it degrades the environment, further shrinks the habitat of endangered animals such as orangutans and displaces Indigenous people that rely on the land for their livelihoods.
Indonesia began construction of the new capital in mid 2022, after President Joko Widodo announced that Jakarta — the congested, polluted current capital that is prone to earthquakes and rapidly sinking into the Java Sea — would be retired from capital status.
Plans for the new capital — about …