270 million people at risk, the ground is sinking every day in China

2024-04-19 10:13:00, Kosova & Bota CNA


270 million people at risk, the ground is sinking every day in China
Illustrative photo

Land is sinking beneath the feet of millions of people in China's major cities due to human activities, putting the country's coastal areas at greater risk of flooding and rising sea levels, a new study shows.

Nearly half of China's urban areas, which account for 29% of the country's population, are sinking faster than 3 millimeters a year, according to the study published Thursday in the journal Science. There are 270 million people living on sinking land, CNN reports.

Meanwhile, 67 million people live on land that is sinking faster than 10 millimeters each year. China's rampant groundwater extraction is one of the main factors in the decline, the researchers said. 

The land is also sinking due to the growing weight of the cities themselves. Soil can be compacted, naturally by the weight of sediments accumulated over time and by heavy buildings pressing into the ground, causing the soil to continually sink.

The study suggests that roughly a quarter of China's coastline will be below sea level, leaving the area vulnerable to colossal damage and putting lives at risk. Tianjin, Shanghai and areas around Guangzhou are significantly exposed to both issues, the study found./ CNA 


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