Thursday, October 27, 2011

Investors failed to study the geography

From the Bangkok Post: Investors failed to study the geography
Re: ''Foreign companies show restraint as losses mount'' (BP, Business, Oct 24).

A glance at a physical map of Thailand should have given sufficient warning before the development of modern Bangkok.

The capital and its greater urban sprawl is built on silt that has been washed down into the valley that stretches for 200 miles to the north. This valley is nature's main drain into which flows all the surface water from the higher land to its north, west and east: hence the build-up of silt. It has done this for millennia and the two main rivers carrying the water to the sea, the Chao Phraya and the Tha Chin rivers are slow moving as can be seen by their shape. Therefore their capacity is low and before development of roads, factories and housing, additional auxilliary channels should have been formed.

Marc Spiegel of the JFCCT mentions taking ''proactive measures''. It is too late for pro-active measures, the disaster has happened. Any measures now taken will be reactive, following the avoidable, appalling suffering of thousands of innocent people.

There is a great deal more to sound investment than finance and the ''bottom line''. Prime consideration must be given to social well-being, location and dependable infrastructure such as drainage, water and energy. Chasing the easy, quick buck is not sound investment; consider the ''wisdom'' of Wall Street over the past decade.

This current flooding disaster is no more the doing of nature than was the Fukushima disaster. Building a nuclear plant close to a sub-marine fault line at sea level was the cause of the disaster. Bangkok is a large block in a natural drain and it is sinking slowly under its own weight. It could face submersion both from the sea in the south and fresh water from the north due to its geographical position. But, as with the fresh water flooding, if consideration is not forthcoming, in the future the current flooding will be seen historically as a picnic.


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