Bangkok heat stokes planning debate

2012-05-04 20:01
A vendor covers his head with a basket as temperatures spike in Bangkok. (Sakchai Lalit, AP)

A vendor covers his head with a basket as temperatures spike in Bangkok. (Sakchai Lalit, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bangkok - Five months after the worst floods in half a century, the Thai capital is facing a near record heat wave with temperatures at 30-year highs, stoking debate over the often chaotic urban planning in one of Asia's hottest and largest cities.

The daily average high in Bangkok in April was 40.1°C, the Meteorological Department says, prompting warnings from authorities for residents to be alert for heat-related ailments.

Critics say the heat has been exacerbated by poor urban planning in the fast-growing city of 12 million people - from a thinning of trees by city workers, often to accommodate electrical power lines, to heat-trapping building designs and a relatively small number of parks.

"It is a factor," Prawit Jampanya, director of the Central Weather Forecast division at the Meteorological Department, said, referring to the lack of green spaces in trapping Bangkok's mercury-pumping heat.

"Having trees does help to relieve poor air quality and urban heat traps," he said.

Urban planning

Though a tropical city, Bangkok has fewer trees and green spaces in proportion to its population than other Asian cities. An Asian Green City Index of 22 cities released last year by the Economist Intelligence Unit put Bangkok's green spaces at 3m² per person in the metropolitan area.

That is well below the index average of 39m² and contrasts with Singapore, a fellow Southeast Asian tropical city 1 430km to the south, which has 66m² of green space per person.

Urban planning in Bangkok can seem arbitrary - from chronic congestion on main roads to obstructed or non-existent sidewalks, and poorly enforced zoning laws that allow homes and apartment buildings next to office towers and shopping malls.

Authorities hope to bring some order to the city with a new urban plan that takes effect from May 2013.

Chalermwat Tantasavasdi, associate dean at the Faculty of Architecture and Planning at Thammasat University, said Bangkok's heat is made worse by outdated building designs that lack the proper insulation needed to keep buildings cool, leading to a rise in energy consumption.

The heat coincides with drought in 50 out of Thailand's 77 provinces, plus an increase in man-made and natural fires, just months after the worst floods in more than 50 years.

Businesses report surging sales of air conditioners, sun-screen and other cooling products.

Mistine Cosmetics Thailand, for example, saw sales of sunscreen products, lotions and creams jump 14% in April compared with the same period in 2011, said the company's marketing planner, Cholacha Subeuong.

Humans aren't the only ones suffering.

"Because of the heat, we have had to put in place cooling measures for the animals," said Waraporn Gunton at Bangkok's Dusit Zoo.

Measures have included mixing ice with animal food and watering some animals down with sprinklers.
Read more on:    thailand  |  climate
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

BMW drift battle: M235i vs. speedway bike

Watch this insane drift contest with four-times dirt-track World champion Karl Maier riding a speedway bike against a BMW M235i.

 
 

Men24.com

Want to start talking dirty?
Everyday struggles of naturally skinny guys
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...
How to maintain your mo, bro

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Enjoy the view because as from tomorrow you are going to need to come back down to earth and join the party. In the meantime use...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.