Wed, Sep 05, 2018 - Page 14 News List

With rising sea levels, Bangkok struggles to stay afloat
海平面上升 曼谷岌岌可危

A woman is ferried on a boat in the flooded section of Bangkok on Nov. 9, 2011. As Bangkok hosted climate change talks yesterday, the sprawling city of more than 10 million is itself under siege from the environment, with dire forecasts that it could be partially submerged in just over a decade.
軍人在曼谷淹水的區域中,拉著船護送一名女子在水中行進,攝於二○一一年十一月九日。曼谷昨日舉辦氣候變化會談,這擁有一千多萬人口、無序擴張的城市本身也受環境所困,駭人的預測是,曼谷有一部分可能會在短短十多年內被淹沒。

Photo: AFP
照片:法新社

As Bangkok hosted climate-change talks yesterday, the sprawling city of more than 10 million is itself under siege from the environment, with dire forecasts warning it could be partially submerged in just over a decade.

A preparatory meeting begins Tuesday in Thailand’s capital for the next UN climate conference, a crunch summit in Poland at the end of 2018 to set rules on reducing greenhouse emissions and providing aid to vulnerable countries.

As temperatures rise, abnormal weather patterns — like more powerful cyclones [including typhoons and hurricanes], erratic rainfall, and intense droughts and floods — are predicted to worsen over time, adding pressure on governments tasked with bringing the 2015 Paris climate treaty to life.

Bangkok, built on once-marshy land about 1.5m 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 percent” 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.

Seas in the nearby Gulf of Thailand are rising by four millimeters a year, above the global average.

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 dikes.

But the rest of Thailand was not so fortunate and the death toll passed 500 by the end of the season.

Experts say unchecked urbanization 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.

TODAY’S WORDS
今日單字

1. submerge v.

淹沒(yan1 mo4)

2. monsoon n.

季風;雨季

(ji4 feng1; yu3 ji4)

3. pumping station phr.

抽水站

(chou1 shui3 zhan4)

4. evacuate v.

排空(pai2 kong1)

5. land management phr.

土地管理

(tu3 di4 guan2 li3)


Shrimp farms and other aquacultural development — sometimes replacing mangrove forests that protected against storm surges — have also caused significant erosion to the coastline nearest the capital.

This means that Bangkok could be penned in by flooding from the sea in the south and monsoon floods from the north, said Suppakorn Chinvanno, a climate expert at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

Narong Raungsri, director of Bangkok’s Department of Drainage and Sewage, admitted that the city’s “weaknesses” stem from its small tunnels and the hyper-development of neighborhoods.

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

But these ad-hoc fixes may not be enough. “We need a clear policy of land management,” said Greenpeace’s Tara Buakamsri, adding that the need for increased green spaces is outweighed by developers’ interests.

“The high price of land in Bangkok makes economic interests a priority.”

(AFP)

氣候變化會談昨日在曼谷舉行,這個擁有一千多萬人口、無序蔓延擴展的城市,本身正受環境問題所困,可怖的預測是,曼谷有一部分可能會在短短十多年內被淹沒。

昨天在泰國首都舉行的,是下一屆聯合國氣候大會的籌備會議。二○一八年底將在波蘭舉行的下一屆聯合國氣候大會,是極重要的峰會,旨在制定規則以減少溫室氣體排放,並向高風險國家提供援助。

隨著氣溫的上升,異常的天氣型態預期會日益嚴重──例如更強烈的氣旋〔含颱風和颶風〕、不穩定的降雨,以及嚴重的乾旱和洪水,讓負責落實二○一五年巴黎氣候協議的各國政府受到更多壓力。

曼谷建城於海拔一點五公尺、曾為沼澤的土地上,預計會跟東南亞大城雅加達和馬尼拉一起,成為世界上受災最嚴重的城市之一。

根據世界銀行的一份報告指出,由於極端降雨和天氣型態的變化,最快在二○三○年,曼谷將會有「近百分之四十」的面積被淹沒。

泰國灣〔暹羅灣〕附近的海洋每年升高四公釐,高於全球平均值。

二○一一年的季風季節造成了數十年來最嚴重的洪水,曼谷有五分之一的面積被水淹沒。由於緊急建造了堤壩,商業區得以倖免於災。

但是泰國其他地區就不是那麼幸運了。雨季結束時,死亡人數已超過了五百人。

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