Sinking Bangkok Among Cities To Be Hardest Hit By Climate Change
 
Investvine, A Company of Inside Investor, Ltd.
Sep 09, 2018
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As Bangkok prepares to host climate change talks, the Global Warming and Climate Change Conference from October 4-5, experts once again remind that unchecked urbanisation and eroding shorelines will leave the city itself and its residents in a critical situation in the not so distant future.

The sprawling metropolis of more than ten million people is itself under siege from the environment, with dire forecasts warning it could be partially submerged in just over a decade.

Bangkok, built on once-marshy land about 1.5 meters above sea level, is projected to be one of the world’s hardest hit urban areas, alongside fellow Southeast Asian behemoths Jakarta and Manila.

“Nearly 40 per cent” of Bangkok will be inundated by as early as 2030 due to extreme rainfall and changes in weather patterns, according to a World Bank report.

Currently, the capital “is sinking one to two centimeters a year and there is a risk of massive flooding in the near future,” said Tara Buakamsri, Thailand Country Director for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

In turn, the sea levels in the nearby Gulf of Thailand are rising by four millimeters a year, above the global average.

The city “is already largely under sea level”, said Buakamsri.

In 2011, when the monsoon season brought the worst floods in decades, a fifth of the city was under water. The business district was spared thanks to hastily constructed dykes. But the rest of Thailand was not so fortunate and the death toll passed 500 by the end of the season.

Experts say unchecked urbanisation and eroding shorelines will leave Bangkok and its residents in a critical situation. With the weight of skyscrapers contributing to the city’s gradual descent into water, Bangkok has become a victim of its own frenetic development.

Making things worse, the canals which used to traverse the city have now been replaced by intricate road networks, said Suppakorn Chinvanno, a climate expert at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

“They had contributed to a natural drainage system,” he said, adding that the water pathways earned the city the nickname ‘Venice of the East’.

Today, the government is scrambling to mitigate the effects of climate change, constructing a municipal canal network of up to 2,600 kilometers with pumping stations and eight underground tunnels to evacuate water in case disaster strikes.

 
 
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