'Superwall' proposed for Bangkok

I was bemused when I read this story in the Bangkok Post earlier this week. It’s certainly one of the more ambitious ideas to come out of Bangkok for some time. Remember that Bangkok is a city that floods almost every time it rains. Concerned about global warming, a local disaster-prevention group and some former members of Thai Rak Thai are pushing for a 100-billion-baht, 80-kilometer-long wall to be built around Bangkok.

The theory behind this is that there is a chance that sea levels will rise sufficiently in the next 10 or 20 years to pose a threat to Bangkok.

The wall would take up to eight years to build. It’s miraculous enough that Bangkok has a Skytrain and an MRT system, but an 80-kilometer-wall? What are the chances of it ever being completed? If I remember correctly, when they built the Skytrain, enormous concrete pillars were accidentally put in the wrongs places.

The Bangkok 50 group, made up of former members of Thai Rak Thai, are the guys promoting this scheme. They now plan to get 50,000 signatures backing the project. I’m sure that this project would make a lot of people very wealthy, but perhaps it’s just too big.

The wall would surround Samut Sakhon, Chachoengsao and Bangkok.

Perhaps it’s a good idea, but it’s 100-billion-baht gamble as to whether a.) the wall would ever be built and b.) the wall would ever be needed.

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6 thoughts on “'Superwall' proposed for Bangkok

  1. The sea level is expected to rise between 50cm and 1.5m in the next 10 to 20 years. Much of Bangkok is less that 1m above sea level, and is sinking by between 60cm and 80cm because of subsidence caused by draining the aquifer underneath the city.

    So yes, it will be needed.

    One does need to ask however, how much engineering faith can be put in a nation that builds airports like Suvarnabhumi and whose metropolitan roads are a disgrace. Laziness and incompetence are the rule in Thailand, however I do hear that an exodus by the rich is being planned, and land in Issan is being snapped up faster than you can say 'Thais are worthless'.

  2. I'm not so sure about the rise of the sea level, but because of the "sinking", Bangkok will hit sea level surely. A sea-barrier is not a wannahave, but a shouldhave by then.

    So it is a good idea, I mean, in Holland we're full of those things.

    And yes, it can be build, but I share your doubts. Suvarnabhumi and all the useless concrete pillars you see around Bangkok don't really raise the confidence I must say.

  3. Well, our ancestors moved the nation's capitals a few times in the past. Moved away from an epidemic. Moved away from the post-war ruins. Moved across the river.

    Might as well moved again this time to higher grounds somewhere. Or something.

  4. It's not the sea level rising silly. It's that Bangkok is pumping too much groundwater out, and the soils underneath are compacting, causing Bangkok to sink. Bangkok will be underwater, like New Orleans. It won't be a problem until there is a major storm, lucky there are no typhoons here.

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