Bangkok sinking at alarming rate

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BANGKOK, May 28 – Bangkok and its outskirts are at risk of sinking by 40 centimetres in the next 30 years, according to Thai and European academics      

The team of academics has for the last two years studied the vertical movements of the earth’s surface as a result of earthquakes, land subsidence and sea level changes in the territorial waters of Thailand and neighbouring countries.

The study found the sea level increasing on average 35mm per year in the Gulf of Thailand and 5mm per year at the mouth of the Chao Phraya River in Samut Prakarn province.

Bangkok and suburban areas are sinking at an alarming rate of  20-25 mm per year and the subsidence could reach 40 cm in three decades.

The 9.0 Richter earthquake in Sumatra in 2004 has continued to result in horizontal movements of the earth’s surface in Southeast Asia, the academics said, adding that the horizontal movements in Phuket were nearly 80cm and vertical movements  at an average 10mm per year.

The phenomenon will continue and gradually subside in the future but it will result in Bangkok sinking at 5-10cm.

Anond Snidvongs Na-Ayutthaya, director of Thailand’s Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, said the research has shown that the risks of ground subsidence and higher sea water level are increasing.

Water draining from the Chao Phraya River to the Gulf of Thailand will become more difficult, he said.

He said results of the research will be submitted to the government and related agencies to find measures and strategy to cope with looming problems.