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Thread: Thailand needs to act as Bangkok sinks faster

  1. #1
    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Thailand needs to act as Bangkok sinks faster

    Thailand needs to act as Bangkok sinks faster | Environment | DW.DE | 02.05.2013

    Thailand's capital Bangkok has been sinking for years and time is running out to tackle the problem. As the ground continues to subside by 3 centimeters (1.2 inches) a year, scientists say action is urgent.

    The government has been ignoring the fact that Bangkok is sinking for years, scientists in Thailand said. According to the national agency that provides satellite images to update on disasters like the 2011 floods, Bangkok's problem may be even worse than previously thought. The city of 10 million people could be sinking faster; and experts warn there are only seven to 10 years left to tackle the problem.

    "The buildings are already sinking nearly 20 millimeters. Additionally, the soil and clay are also sinking 10 to 20 millimeters," said Dr Anond Sanitwong, director of GISTDA, the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency.

    "Adding those two figures together means the absolute sinking rate of the ground is around three centimeters or 30 millimeters at least per year. It's fast - much faster than we thought.

    Sanitwong warns that - considering the devastation caused by the 2011 floods - the latest data is a major cause for concern. "It doesn't mean the whole area is going to be flooded, but it does mean, especially during high tide, we are going to have a big problem with drainage."

    According to Sanitwong, more than 50 percent of the sinking has been caused by the tapping of groundwater by industry. Although the practice has been banned, it still goes on. The sheer weight of all the modern buildings that fill the Bangkok skyline are also contributing to the problem.

    Created and undone by climate change?

    "A thousands years ago, all of Bangkok was flood land," Sanitwong explains, pointing out that the 230-year-old city itself only exists because of historic climate change.

    "Somehow over a certain period, we had more than average strong winds and waves. Those strong winds and waves from the sea moved the sand and soil and accumulated in this area and it became Bangkok."

    The city is therefore particularly sensitive to any alterations in the climate and seriously at risk should anything change again.

    "We believe we are in the phase where we have less strong winds and storms in this particular area. So thus no more mechanism to bring in the sediments and the clay from the sea, the ocean," Sanitwong warns.

    And that means Bangkok is also threatened by the rising sea level.

    Historic buildings particularly at risk

    Scientist Art-Ong Jumsai, former Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and currently Director of the Institute for Sathya Sai Education, has been warning successive Thai governments about the problem for years. But he says his dire predictions have fallen on deaf ears.

    "Nobody is taking the lead in the government. They are only looking at the next election. And people don't like to hear this. The government has to consider business interests, it also wants to attract more tourists. So they don't want people to talk about anything that is negative."

    With even more shopping malls opening and a boom in high-rise condo developments across the city, officials are fearful of spooking investors. And while modern buildings are built with foundations running several meters into the ground, the city's temples and historic structures don't have the same support.

    "The ancient buildings are in greater danger because they don't have the foundations," Jumsai explains. "Many temples are having problems because the water has come up and is encroaching on them. In Ban Khun Tian which is a part of Bangkok one temple is in the middle of the sea with the water level right up. So they have already lost the lower level of the temple itself."

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lightemup's Avatar
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    Any takers for all those condos in BKK?

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    Senior Member Waharoa's Avatar
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    I wonder at what point the action will start? How far into the sea will Bangkok have to go? I guess at the point that the wealthy notice they are losing money...

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    Bangkok. The Venice of the South East.

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    Is this an April fool? If Bangkok is sinking how come the buildings aren't all wonky like in Amsterdam? Is it sinking square and level??
    Waharoa. likes this.

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    Senior Member sundancekid's Avatar
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    Good thing we humans have already taken decisive measures to halt the sea level rise...

  7. #7
    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve@thaib View Post
    Is this an April fool? If Bangkok is sinking how come the buildings aren't all wonky like in Amsterdam? Is it sinking square and level??
    Because its due to groundwater removal yes the surface layer apparently is staying together..

    Been reading various pieces about this for at least the last 5 years but the rate of the sinking is what's really unusual in this report.. Before it had always been a few mm a year, with the major issue beng thought of as 2040 or 2050 etc.. This speed of sink would mean in the 2020s there would be enormous consequences..

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    There might be an engineering solution like Amsterdam then if they stop the movement, deeper canals and / or sea locks. Or maybe they can dust Sukhothai off and move the capital North a little?

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    I am sure theoretically you could deep bore and pressure inject millions of barrels of seawater.. I am sure there is an engineering solution..

    But this is a country whose minister of science tied boats to a bridge running engines flat out to clear floodwaters !! Tackling a large scale project, with foresight and planning.. Hmm..

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    Senior Member kaptainrob's Avatar
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    There is such an engineering solution, pumping sand, designed to reinstate damaged/sunken foundations. That could be used on old historic sites if they start to topple like tower of Pisa.

    A better way to approach it would be suburb by suburb demolition/reclamation/rebuilding program over ~50 years. This being Thailand they'll probably decide to dredge the Gulf instead ... 55
    Waharoa. likes this.
    Cheers, Rob.

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