Close inspection has uncovered that many structures have been built illegally on 26 waterways in eastern Bangkok, leading to estuaries being redirected or blocked altogether – one of the key reasons why it is taking so long to drain the floods, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said yesterday.
According to most uptodate maps, the Chuad Ta Thim canal in Bang Na district seems to have disappeared altogether and has been replaced by a luxury housing complex. In addition, many golf courses and apartments have allegedly been illegally built on canals, not to mention several slums along the riverside, sources involved with the inspection said. Suvarnabhumi Airport and several roads are also allegedly blocking waterways and water catchment areas.
The ministry’s permanent secretary, Suphoj Towichukchaikul, said the inspection had been conducted before floods had arrived at key watergates south of Bangkok, and officials had discovered that stoplogs designed to control the flow of water had been used on several canals and that many were overgrown with weeds.
Obstacles like stoplogs were found in seven locations in the lower Sam Wa canal and have now been dismantled, he said, adding: “But there are several similar obstacles in all canals that contribute to slower drainage and flow. A proper inspection will have to be conducted soon.”