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Pattaya Daily News

29 March 2010 :: 16:03:38 pm 16947

Cause For Deep Planetary Concern

There are some very disconcerting happenings being conveniently glossed over by the world media, obsessed as it is with mundane politico-economic problems, wars and the scandals of superstars. Whilst these media highlights, deaden public awareness, traumatic events are occurring to Gaea, our living planet. These events include the virtual disappearance of the polar ice cap, rising sea levels and potential global drought.
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Melting of the North Pole Polar

For the first time in over 55 million years, the ice cap around the North Pole has disappeared! A UN-based taskforce of oceanographers, 10 years ago went to survey the Arctic, to find it covered in about 9 feet of solid ice. Now, the ice, within this two-mile radius of the North Pole, is no longer there, with dire predictions that by the year 2050, there will just be open sea in the Arctic region. Also what ancient mariners hoped to find in the region, namely the North West Passage, now actually exists.

Two major implications of this polar melt are that sea levels worldwide will rise to an alarming extent, putting much of the low-lying regions and some major cities at great risk and with most of the world’s drinking  water locked within the icecap, its melting will also spell dire consequences for an already parched earth. More than one-tenth of the global population, i.e.  643 million people, live in low-lying areas at risk from rising sea levels, according to U.S. and European experts.

Rising sea levels of between seven to nine metres, as predicted, will affect the low-lying countries of Europe like Holland and Belgium, the Wash in England, large parts of Ireland, Denmark, Poland and Northern Russia, Mauritiana and Somalia in Africa, Brazil and Argentina in south America, Florida in the U.S and parts of Australia, 20%of Bangladesh will be submerged in the sea by 2020. Countries like Maldives, with the highest point of 2.4 meters above mean sea level, will be totally submerged. Most imperiled, however, in descending order, are China, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, Egypt, the U.S., Thailand and the Philippines.

Cities most at risk include Dhaka, Bangladesh; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Shanghai and Tianjin in China; Alexandria and Cairo in Egypt; Mumbai and Kolkata in India; Jakarta, Indonesia; Tokyo and Osaka-Kobe in Japan; Lagos, Nigeria; Karachi, Pakistan; Bangkok, Thailand, and New York and Los Angeles in the US, according to studies by the United Nations and others.

Of most concern to us in Thailand, is that Bangkok is among those cities most at risk of being submerged and The loss of Bangkok would annihilate Thailand’s economic engine and a major hub for regional tourism.

“If the heart of Thailand is under water everything will stop. We don’t have time to move our capital in the next 15-20 years. We have to protect our heart now, and it’s almost too late,” according to Smith Dharmasaroja, of the Committee of National Disaster Warning Administration.

Humanitarian Disaster

In short, the effect of rising sea levels will be a humanitarian disaster of unprecedented proportions. Yet, whilst this knowledge has been in the public domain for years, the world governments are not doing nearly enough to counter the threats, as we saw with Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. And that was a developed country with the most up-to-date equipment!

Instead of moving those most at risk to higher ground and laying up contingency stores, the world governments appear to be in denial. As an instance, it was advised by a Dutch environmentalist that Thailand would have to build a 200-km-long sea wall to protect Bangkok and the Eastern Seaboard, we don’t see too much evidence even of a preliminary survey taking place in this regard.

Drinking Water Shortage

With the loss of drinking water due to melting of the ice caps and pollution, the world will soon face a potable water crisis and all the contingent associated problems, such as disease and contaminated crops.  A recent UN report that indicated that by 2025 at least 66% of the global population will be without an adequate water supply. Yet, here again, no adequate contingency plans are apparently being put into place, except for commercial and governmental interests purchasing all available natural water resources to sell at a high price to the needy.

Global Drought

The world is also facing a water shortage of non-potable variety caused by burning fossil fuels and increased solar activity, contributing to global warning, forest fires raging out of control worldwide, extreme heat waves in many parts of the world. Parts of Iran, Afghanistan, China, Africa and other neighboring countries are currently experienced their worst droughts on record. Again, according to the UN, conflicts over water are on the cards, water assuming equivalent status to oil and likely shifts in the balance of power to the water-rich countries.

The prospects do not appear too promising!

Reporter: Taliesin Verity (Chief-Reporter)

Photo : Internet   Category : Stories

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