Earth logo

China is sinking

Some cities of China are sinking

By Andreas Ntsamba Published 26 days ago 2 min read
Like
China is sinking
Photo by rohan shah on Unsplash

My next item makes you feel uneasy because it concerns China, the second-most populous country in the world with 1.4 billion people, and how the soil is sinking beneath their feet. A new research, the first of its kind to measure subsidence in many sections of China, is available. Along with their rapid growth, Chinese cities are sinking.

Approximately half of China's urban areas sink more than three millimetres annually; these areas are home to 29% of the nation's population, or 406 million people, who live on slowly sinking land. Additionally, 16% of the urban areas lose more than ten millimetres of elevation annually, which translates to 67 million people who are rapidly sinking.

A quarter of China's coastal land will fall below sea level in 100 years due to two factors: China is sinking and sea levels are rising as a result of climate change. These figures may not seem like much, but they add up quickly. We don't need to wait a century to see the effects; they are already here.

As China's elevation declines, the country becomes more vulnerable to flooding. You may recall the floods of 2023, when unprecedented amounts of rain soaked the country, forcing over a million people to flee and several of them to perish. If China keeps sinking, these kinds of scenarios will only get worse.

It is a national issue, but how did it happen? There are two reasons: first, China has 600 million buildings, and their weight is pressing down on the ground. Second, cities are pumping water from the underground without enough groundwater, which is causing parts of the underground to become hollow and contribute to the land sinking. We saw this last year in the city of Tadin, where the streets suddenly split apart, creating massive cracks that forced thousands of residents to flee.

Tadin is one of the fastest sinking places in China, but it's not the only place Beijing, the nation's capital, is also among the worst affected, making Shanghai a significant hub for manufacturing and finance. This is bad news for President Xi Jinping, but what has he done about it? Not much. It seems like he doesn't understand the seriousness of the situation.

Yes, Beijing has passed new laws to regulate groundwater pumping, and Shanghai and its surrounds have been restricting water withdrawal, but other cities have been treated like stepchildren. Although China's coastline districts have constructed physical barriers to help retain water, the country also needs to concentrate on urban cities, some of which are sinking more quickly than coastal cities and require immediate action.

perhaps take a cue from countries such as Italy and the UK the US the Netherlands India Some countries are adapting effectively to the sinking of their portions, such as Indonesia, Thailand, and Bangladesh, while sea walls are being built in Venice, Italy. Other nations are injecting water into the soil. China must decide before it has to decide whether to sink or swim.

Indonesia's Jakarta is rapidly sinking, so they're building a whole new capital city from scratch. Some of the measures are about prevention, while others are about accepting the reality of a losing game and starting a new one.

Climate
Like

About the Creator

Andreas Ntsamba

I am Andreas Ntsamba, a Namibian citizen, I am a holder of Multi Engine Commercial Pilot. I am a government employee. I don't have a wife (single); I love reading and writing.

my hobby I love using computer to research, writing.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments

There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.