For those of you that haven’t been able to pluck yourself out of that sinking feeling, Xinhua has a scientific explanation for it — our city has been sinking! In fact, geologists say it’s sunk 7.5 millimetres this year, with “severe subsidence” of 8.3 millimetres detected in downtown areas. The sinking’s been caused by heavy construction as well as water being pumped out of underground aquifers for “industrial and agricutural purposes” which has now been banned. Currently, the city government has plans to pump water back down into the underground on a regular basis to reduce subsidence.
We were also surprised to read that in the 1960s, Shanghai was sinking by as much as 10cm each year, and if urgent action had not been taken, we would all have been flooded by 1999 (which is just as well, ‘cuz we weren’t born then yet! Hah!)
Global warming and rising ocean waters have led coastal cities around the world scrambling for action. Singapore, for instance, has left nothing to chance, and engaged Dutch experts for help in the construction of dikes that can help protect the city against Hurricane Katrina-style destruction (Holland is mostly below sea level and the Dutch are considered to have the most progressive technology in this area). With polar ice caps melting at an alarming rate (sigh, did you know they’re planning to open up arctic circle shipping routes and to drill it for oil?), sea levels are predicted to rise by as much as six metres — a level that is likely to make Singapore a thing of the past. Much of Shanghai will also stand to be submerged, so God bless the Bund.
Photo from monkeyking