Subsiding Land: More Immediate Problem than Rising Sea Levels

A research by the Deltares Research Institute in the Netherlands has identified regions of the globe where the ground level is falling 10 times faster than rising sea level.

Scientists have therefore, warned the world's coastal megacities about the increasing threat of sinking. "Land subsidence and sea level rise are both happening, and they are both contributing to the same problem - larger and longer floods, and bigger inundation depth of floods", said Dr Gilles Erkens, lead researcher of the study.

Jakarta, Indonesia's largest city, having population under 10 million, has seen ground level dropping by as much as six and a half feet. It is the same level from where the groundwater is being pumped from earth for drinking purpose. Tokyo's ground level has fallen by two metres.

Erkens said to curb the problem there is only one solution and that is to stop pumping groundwater for drinking water. But if that measure is adopted then new source of drinking water would be required. Tokyo and Venice have managed to do the same and has even noticed difference and subsidence has more or less stopped.

Here also, human activities have been blamed. Researchers found human-driven subsidence to be negatively affecting the natural processes and the result is areas are at an increased risk of facing floods.

Research team said the financial loss due to sinking would be around billion dollars annually and cities likes Jakarta, Bangkok, Dhaka and Ho Chi Minh City will sink below sea level. Therefore, action is needed to be taken.