Bangkok’s sinking as sea levels rise

06 October 2009 | Audio

Take the motorway south out of Bangkok and within an hour you’ll be in the Bang Khun Thien area.

The Bang Khun Thien area is of huge economical importance to Thailand with squid fisheries, shrimp farming and fish processing industries.

But the coast has been suffering from severe erosion for the past 20-30 years with an average recession rate of 1.2-4.6 metres per year.

The area, once covered by mangroves have been destroyed and replaced by shrimp farms. This has accelerated the rate of erosion and the lucrative shrimp farms are now being threatened by salt water intrusion due to sea level rise.

Travelling out in to the estuary we saw the visible impacts of climate change such as sea level rise.

From the boat you can see electricity poles sitting in the water, as well as the marker for Bangkok once on land, now submerged and surrounded by shrimp farms.

Professor Pitiwong Tantichodok is Director of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources at the University of Walailak University in the south of Thailand.

He explains just how much of the Thailand’s coastal zones are at threat from climate change impacts.