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Airport blamed for Bangkok flood woes
Wed, Oct 06, 2010
The Nation/Asia News Network

An environmentalist yesterday blamed Suvarnabhumi Airport for the flooding in many areas in Bangkok.

Speaking at a seminar on "Bangkok: The Underwater City", Stop Global Warming Association president Srisuwan Janya said he and affected people would sue Suvarnabhumi Airport executives in a bid to get the government to take responsibility for the damage it had done.

The House committee on natural resources and environment organised the seminar at Parliament House.

Another panellist, Smith Dhammasaroj, a director at the National Disaster Warning Council, said the risk of prolonged flooding in the capital was real.

"It's possible that floodwater may rise to between 50 centimetres and one metre. When that day comes, Bangkok's economy and key attractions, like the Grand Palace, will face adverse impacts," he said.

Smith said Bangkok could in fact learn a lesson about how to prevent floods from China and Vietnam.

He recommended the creation of more water-retention areas and installing sluice gates on key rivers.

Samut Prakan Senator Surajit Chirawet, meanwhile, suggested that canals be used to efficiently manage water levels.

The Network for Bangkok Sea and Bang Khun Thien Environment Conservation adviser Panadda Tassiri said apart from flooding, coastal erosion had also eaten away 3,000 rai of land in Bangkok's Bang Khun Thien district.

Supachai Tantikhom, an adviser to Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paibatra, explained that Bangkok had carried out many long-term projects to solve flood problems such as the improvement of drainage systems.

"The government has also taken tough measures against private entrepreneurs who have illegally dug down and drawn up artesian water," he said.

Drawing up artesian water is widely blamed for causing serious land subsidence in Bangkok.

Smith, who predicted the tsunami before it occurred, faced many questions about the possibility of a new round of tidal waves yesterday after a famous fortune-teller said a disaster would hit the southern part of Thailand before the end of this year.

"I am not in a position to comment as the government will not listen to me anyway," he said.

But he said the early-warning system should be improved so it is fully effective and may reduce damage and casualties if a disaster occurs.

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