BANGKOK (AlertNet) - Thailand has lost 22 percent of its 2,600-km coastline - more than 12,600 hectares of land - over the past 30 years as a result of climate change and upstream dams, The Nation newspaper reported.
The damage was caused by stronger and bigger waves triggered by climate change, as well as upstream dams that deposit less sediment at river-mouth areas, Thanawat Jarupongsakul, head of the Chulalongkorn University’s unit for disaster and land information studies, told the newspaper.
The Chao Phraya River used to deposit 17 to 18 million tonnes of sediment per year at its mouth, but now leaves only 1.6 million tonnes.
The hardest hit area is Ban Khun Samut Chin village in Samut Prakan province, on the southeastern outskirts of the capital Bangkok.
There, the coast eroded at 30 metres per year, and 900 metres of land is now gone. A pilot project to build a 250 metre-long structure to halt the erosion is 10 million baht ($340,000) short of funds, the paper said.
In 2012, photographer Gavin Gough documented how residents of Ban Khun Samut Chin are forced to relocate as a result of coastal erosion.