Why is the city of Bangkok likely to be moved on world maps?

Move Bangkok to escape rising waters? This is the possibility put forward by a senior official of Thailand’s climate services, in an interview with AFP.

Projections consistently show that Bangkok is at risk of being inundated by the ocean before the end of the century. Much of the vibrant capital already experiences flooding during the rainy season.

Several measures envisaged

Pavich Kesavawong, deputy director general of the government’s climate change and environment department, fears that the city will not be able to adapt quickly enough in light of current global warming. “Bangkok will be underwater if the current situation does not change.”

The municipality is considering various measures, including the construction of dikes like those used in the Netherlands. “We thought about moving,” confides Mr. Pavich, stressing that these discussions are still at the hypothesis stage and that the problem is “very complex”.

Insufficient efforts

A political decision on moving the capital remains distant, but it is not without precedent in the region. Indonesia will inaugurate its new capital Nusantara this year, which will replace polluted and sinking Jakarta as the country’s political center. The titanic project is controversial and extremely expensive, with an estimated price of between 29.5 and 32.3 billion euros.

Pavich Kesavawong recognizes that the government’s environmental efforts have barely borne fruit so far, particularly with regard to the fight against air pollution, which is particularly serious in the north.

New law

A law dedicated to air pollution was passed this year. According to Pavich, national park officials have also strengthened measures to prevent and suppress fires in protected areas.

Immediately, his department, attached to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, is carrying Thailand’s first climate change law, which has been in the works since at least 2019 but was buried during the Covid pandemic -19. Mr. Pavich hopes that the text, which addresses all subjects (carbon prices, adaptive measures, etc.), will be voted on again this year.

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