Singapore lifts land to prepare for rising sea levels

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Singapore is preparing early to protect itself from the consequences of climate change, something other countries in the region such as Thailand and Indonesia are widely neglecting thus far.

Keeping in mind that climate change will come with rising sea levels of between 25 and 76 centimeters towards the end of the century, according to scientist, Singapore acknowledges that it is also vulnerable to climate change-induced flooding due to long coastlines and low-lying areas. Much of the country lies only 15 meter above the mean sea level, with about 30 per cent of the island less than five meters above.

Singapore’s Climate Action Plan released in 2016 by the National Climate Change Secretariat commands for early preparation to safeguard the city state. One of the strategies is that the minimum land reclamation level has been was raised from three to four meters above the mean sea level. Shoreline restoration works have been carried out to stabilise a section of the beach at East Coast Park, consisting of large sand-filled bags, laid several meters into the ground to be on level with the low tide, helping to reduce sand erosion.

Low-lying roads near coastal areas, including those in Katong, Geylang and Bedok, have been raised. The coastal Nicoll Drive in Changi has been lifted by up to 80 centimeters. The upcoming Changi Airport Terminal 5 will be built on a higher platform than the existing terminals.

Today, over 70 per cent of Singapore’s coastline is protected by hard structures such as seawalls and rock slopes.

While lauding the efforts, experts have pointed out various ways in which these can be boosted. Suggestions are to use of amphibious architecture, which would be cheaper than raising land or building sea walls. Such buildings, which are in use in the Netherlands, stay on the ground during dry times. But when water comes, they float on the surface, while their foundations anchor them to the ground.

Other cities in the region that will clearly be affected by rising sea levels are, particularly, Bangkok and Jakarta. Bangkok, just an average of 1.50 meters above mean sea level, is also slowly sinking into its swampy ground and could be widely inundated in the next 15 years if nothing is being done, experts say. What then happens can best be seen in the coastal village of Samut Chin at the mouth of the Chao Phraya river just south of Bangkok. The entire community has been consistently sinking into the sea over the past decades, with its shoreline eroding, buildings collapsing and temples drowning.

Jakarta, in turn, which like Bangkok sits on swampy land, has been dubbed “the fastest-sinking city in the world.” If this goes unchecked, parts of the megacity could be entirely submerged by 2050, say researchers. North Jakarta has sunk 2.5 meters in the last ten years and is continuing to sink by as much as 25 centimeters a year in some parts, which is more than double the global average for coastal megacities. Overall, the whole city is sinking by one to 15 centimeters a year and almost half of it now sits below sea level. Strategies to address the issue reach from building a huge dam and artificial islands off the northern coats to relocate the capital inlands or to another island such as Borneo.

Here is a list of major cities where sea level is rising at extraordinary rates, largely due to land subsidence.

  1. Jakarta, Indonesia
  2. Manila, Philippines
  3. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  4. New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
  5. Bangkok, Thailand
  6. Osaka, Japan
  7. Dhaka, Bangladesh
  8. Shanghai, China
  9. Venice, Italy
  10. Alexandria, Egypt
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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Singapore is preparing early to protect itself from the consequences of climate change, something other countries in the region such as Thailand and Indonesia are widely neglecting thus far.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Singapore is preparing early to protect itself from the consequences of climate change, something other countries in the region such as Thailand and Indonesia are widely neglecting thus far.

Keeping in mind that climate change will come with rising sea levels of between 25 and 76 centimeters towards the end of the century, according to scientist, Singapore acknowledges that it is also vulnerable to climate change-induced flooding due to long coastlines and low-lying areas. Much of the country lies only 15 meter above the mean sea level, with about 30 per cent of the island less than five meters above.

Singapore’s Climate Action Plan released in 2016 by the National Climate Change Secretariat commands for early preparation to safeguard the city state. One of the strategies is that the minimum land reclamation level has been was raised from three to four meters above the mean sea level. Shoreline restoration works have been carried out to stabilise a section of the beach at East Coast Park, consisting of large sand-filled bags, laid several meters into the ground to be on level with the low tide, helping to reduce sand erosion.

Low-lying roads near coastal areas, including those in Katong, Geylang and Bedok, have been raised. The coastal Nicoll Drive in Changi has been lifted by up to 80 centimeters. The upcoming Changi Airport Terminal 5 will be built on a higher platform than the existing terminals.

Today, over 70 per cent of Singapore’s coastline is protected by hard structures such as seawalls and rock slopes.

While lauding the efforts, experts have pointed out various ways in which these can be boosted. Suggestions are to use of amphibious architecture, which would be cheaper than raising land or building sea walls. Such buildings, which are in use in the Netherlands, stay on the ground during dry times. But when water comes, they float on the surface, while their foundations anchor them to the ground.

Other cities in the region that will clearly be affected by rising sea levels are, particularly, Bangkok and Jakarta. Bangkok, just an average of 1.50 meters above mean sea level, is also slowly sinking into its swampy ground and could be widely inundated in the next 15 years if nothing is being done, experts say. What then happens can best be seen in the coastal village of Samut Chin at the mouth of the Chao Phraya river just south of Bangkok. The entire community has been consistently sinking into the sea over the past decades, with its shoreline eroding, buildings collapsing and temples drowning.

Jakarta, in turn, which like Bangkok sits on swampy land, has been dubbed “the fastest-sinking city in the world.” If this goes unchecked, parts of the megacity could be entirely submerged by 2050, say researchers. North Jakarta has sunk 2.5 meters in the last ten years and is continuing to sink by as much as 25 centimeters a year in some parts, which is more than double the global average for coastal megacities. Overall, the whole city is sinking by one to 15 centimeters a year and almost half of it now sits below sea level. Strategies to address the issue reach from building a huge dam and artificial islands off the northern coats to relocate the capital inlands or to another island such as Borneo.

Here is a list of major cities where sea level is rising at extraordinary rates, largely due to land subsidence.

  1. Jakarta, Indonesia
  2. Manila, Philippines
  3. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  4. New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
  5. Bangkok, Thailand
  6. Osaka, Japan
  7. Dhaka, Bangladesh
  8. Shanghai, China
  9. Venice, Italy
  10. Alexandria, Egypt
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