Bangkok is Literally Sinking, Twice As Fast As It Was Before

Vanishing groundwater and surface erosion give Bangkok residents that sinking feeling

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Damir Sagolj / Reuters

Cars and trains move on Taksin bridge over Chao Phraya river in central Bangkok at sunset March 14, 2013.

Bangkok’s subsidence has been an issue for some time, but new figures show that the Thai capital is now sinking at twice the rate it was a decade ago.

The city of more than 9.3 million people is dropping at a rate of 20.1 millimeters to 28 millimeters per year, reported Chulalonkorn University’s Itthi Trisirisattayawong during a seminar yesterday.

According to this report, the disconcerting rate of subsidence is largely due to the depletion of groundwater and surface erosion, which has been caused by the city’s massive urban sprawl.