Asia 'megacities' face disaster timebomb

August 15, 2012
This handout photo taken on August 10, and released by the Malacanang Photo Bureau shows an aerial view of flooding around Pampanga, north of Manila. Asian nations must act quickly to protect their cities from flooding and other natural disasters as rapid urbanisation raises environmental risks, the Asian Development Bank said Wednesday.

Asian nations must act quickly to protect their cities from flooding and other natural disasters as rapid urbanisation raises environmental risks, the Asian Development Bank said Wednesday.

Major investment in infrastructure and smarter urban planning -- focused on green growth -- are the only routes to curbing the impact of such catastrophes as the region's metropolises expand, an ADB report said.

"Asia has seen unprecedented urban , but this has been accompanied by immense stress on the environment," said ADB chief economist Changyong Rhee.

"The challenge now is to put in place policies which will reverse that trend and facilitate the development of and green urbanisation," he added.

"The (urbanisation) trend will continue at an enormously fast speed... Asian cities have very little time to prepare and build proper infrastructure."

Deadly floods which submerged 80 percent of Manila last week, the deluge that killed dozens in the Chinese capital in July and the inundation of parts of Bangkok last year were that major Asian cities cannot cope with the challenges of climate change and protect their populations, the ADB said.

The situation is likely to worsen, the poverty-fighting bank warned, as Asian economies grow and hundreds of millions of people flock to "megacities" with populations of 10 million or more.

Asia's cities lured more than a billion new residents between 1980 and 2010 and will draw a billion more by 2040, according to ADB research, with more than half of the world's megacities located in the region.

As a result soaring pollution, crime, and slum living are heaping pressure on existing infrastructure, hastening the need for bold responses from city authorities, the Manila-based organisation said.

Asia has "spent lots of money on infrastructure, but that's not enough to protect people", Rhee said.

"We focus on quantity... but do not have the luxury to spend money on quality," he added, citing the building of roads without adequate drainage as an example of flawed development.

The report said policy-makers could narrow that gap by introducing congestion charging, carbon levies and collecting more taxes to invest in green infrastructure including public transport.

It also expressed hope the region would take advantage of new technologies which could lead to greener cities that mitigate the impact of .

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1 / 5 (2) Aug 15, 2012
while all the global warmers are up in arms---i suggest the u.s. and russia unite to melt the greenland ice sheet. directly by blowing it to hell with nukes and by creating artificla glacier water ponds ( which absorb more heat and photons than ice) , and indirectly----by pumping out as much c02 as possible.

this will make more land available for farmland in the northern hemisphere, and will by nature help rising seas weaken asia, africa, and india which are growing to fast and must be slowed down.

northern europe might have some net benefits but of course, the most coastal nations like denmark and the netherlands will get screwed. perhaps denmark can then officially move to greenland when it becomes warm enough.
Granny Bear
not rated yet Aug 15, 2012
This is a problem not unique to Asia, nor is it only in dense urban areas. Another example of "flawed development" is the use over use of fill dirt. We can all guess what happens to fill during a an earthquake, or even during a minor flood. Another common "flawed development" is building over or on top of older construction and/or subterranean spaces and structures, such as old mines, emptied aquifers,old building sites with empty basements and transportation tunnels still in places. And of course the flaw mentioned in the article of inadequate drainage, or, I shall add, draining to the wrong place.

Use of subterranean caverns, of various origin for the storage of industrial wastes without adequate encapsulation of hazardous materials is another foolishness that is ongoing, all over the world, not only in Asia. At least some of these problems are being addressed "over there" while the rest of us try to ignore what is happening in our own home towns.
5 / 5 (1) Aug 15, 2012
Jeddy says:
perhaps denmark can then officially move to greenland when it becomes warm enough.

Good one! You need to "(SARCASM)" to the end or some people may misinterpret.

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