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Fear of the Flood13.04.2008

Tags: Thailand       Comments: 1

The Solar Taxi cruises through Bangkok, where Louis Palmer meets an insurance agent worried about the city, which sinks a few centimetres every year. In Bangkok, a metropolis of six million souls on the Chao Phraya River, we are greeted by a spectacular sunset and by the insurance expert who is sponsoring our Thai car insurance. Insurance is his life, so he knows where to build his house for safety; on a hill outside Bangkok. When I ask why he answers seriously, "Bangkok is sinking."
"Every year the city sinks three to five centimetres", says the insurer. "It's not hard to imagine how it will be in 10 or 15 years with the sea level rising as well! Bangkok will be one of the world's first cities to be flooded. The inner city is already below the water level of the Chao Phraya. Only huge pumps stop the city being flooded when it rains."
Later in my hotel all the TV channels show images of rioting in Egypt, Cameroon and Haiti. Food prices have risen steeply and the poor can't afford staple foods. The planting of crops to produce fuel for vehicles is one of the main causes of this. And Thailand has just announced that it is increasing the "bio" proportion of fuel from two to five percent.
Police step on the gas
Thailand's Energy Minister is my VIP passenger in Bangkok. The country is on the crest of a "green wave" and environmental protection is "in". The Solar Taxi is featured on the front pages of several newspapers and all the television channels broadcast reports about it. The President of Thailand's biggest university assures me that they will also develop a "Solar Taxi", which could sell for 10,000 dollars.
The Thais are very curious about us, so to ensure that we get punctually and safely from one event to the next, the police escort us through the massive traffic chaos, driving a car that runs on gas. Most of the city's taxis run on gas, which costs about half as much as petrol. We race over the highways, red lights and sirens on, to the studios of Channel 9. Our likeable TV host Du also assures us that environmental protection is increasingly important for Thailand.
But apart from our insurance expert, nobody has mentioned the fact that Bangkok will be flooded within 15 years. We continue on our journey, heading for Laos. Everyone smiles and waves. Have they all seen us on TV?


by: Tiwarat

15.04.2008 02:04

Yes I saw you.

Greeting from Swiss embassy

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