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After Jakarta, Bangkok Is the Next Asian City That's Sinking Too Fast

Bangkok is one of three cities — along with Venice and New Orleans — which are sinking ten times more quickly than sea levels are rising.

The Thai capital and megacity faces dual threats: land subsidence as a result of human activity, and sea level rise caused by climate change. In 2011, historic flooding hit southern Thailand, lasting over 170 days and causing 815 deaths while affecting 13.6 million people.

Travel Wire Asia shares that the World Bank estimated that the flooding caused US$46.5 billion in economic damage.

Dr. Gilles Erkens, who leads the Netherlands’ Deltares Research Institute’s, told the BBC that land subsidence and sea level rise are happening concurrently, and they are both contributing to the same problem — larger, longer and deeper floods.

In fact, parts of Bangkok are sinking by two centimeters a year, and by 2100 the city could be entirely below sea level, AFP shares. Therefore, experts have suggested three solutions to prevent the metropolis from sinking into the sea.

The first is to build an enormous, US$3 billion seawall, worth nearly 1% of Thailand’s current GDP. Another option, one that is already built, is the Chulalongkorn University Centennial Park, an 11-acre green space that can hold one million gallons of rainwater if need be. The park funnels rainwater into a retention pond that can hold one-and-half Olympic swimming pools' worth of water.

The third, and most drastic, solution, would be to move Bangkok entirely to higher ground.

In addition to Venice and New Orleans, Jakarta and our own home city Saigon also face similar problems as a result of land subsidence and rising sea levels.

[Photo via Creative Commons]

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