Bangkok: A Modern-Day Atlantis?

by September 6, 2018 0 comments

Several factors such as rising sea levels, climate change, shifting clay soil, and coastal erosion, – are threatening  and real in the city, but the city needs some actionable plans to get out of the worse situations.

If you had given Thailand the go-by for your holiday plans as an overexposed hotspot, revise the idea and make some new memories while you can. What’s tipping the new Government is the recent forecast suggesting Bangkok’s steady erosion by the sea and the doomsday effect eating into the spine of the tourism economy. It may sound scary but all those gigantic skyscrapers, racy nightlife, palaces, floating markets may just fade into obscurity like the mysterious lost city of Atlantis. While much of the metropolis is immersed under below sea level, the World Bank Report says that nearly 40 percent of the Thai capital will be underwater by 2030 due to changing weather patterns. Seas around the Gulf of Thailand are rising by four millimetres each year, which is beyond the global average, setting off alarm bells. This warning ironically comes in the middle of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that is being held in the city till September 9. In a fresh effort to flesh out the Paris Agreement, around 200 delegates are meeting to limit fossil fuel emissions. The city has progressed a lot in terms of greenhouse emission reduction efforts in the past two years but through this conference, Bangkok aims to pull down the numbers by an additional 20 to 25 per cent. Such is the seriousness that civil society, activists, commoners and students alike gathered at the Chulalongkorn University to offer suggestions on climate change mitigation. These proposals will be sent to the UNFCCC and finally reach delegates attending the conference.

Previous summits have only seen global powers or conglomerates talk of climate change as a real issue impacting everyday lives but this is for the first time local people have wrested their chance to be heard. Coastal erosion and  rising sea levels are not the only problem. Bangkok’s exploding population of 10 million and an overused tourist economy have meant a rapacious and illegal use of groundwater, something that is affecting the stability of sub-soil and vacuumising it, increasing the chances of a cave-in. As micro-climate aberrations happen all round, sudden cloudbursts and flooding could be menacing challenges for Bangkok, which in the worst monsoon-induced floods in 2011 had been submerged barring the business district. As the city sits on a flood plain, it cannot wait for policy and the Thai Government’s priority would be to set up adaptive and pre-emptive measures like restoring the city’s old canals as outlets, sinking dykes, downsizing city quarters and relocating offices to higher ground.

Writer: Pioneer

Courtesy:  The Pioneer

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