Asia 'megacities' face disaster timebomb

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 population growth, 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 green technology 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 warning signs 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, social inequality 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 climate change.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Britain's tied visa rules fuel abuse of live-in maids, nannies

    By Katie Nguyen LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When Susi, a single mother from the Philippines, left for a job in Qatar, she convinced herself it was a sacrifice worth making for her children at home. For more than a year, Susi's sacrifice involved waking before dawn and working past midnight, cooking, cleaning and looking after a Qatari family. Conditions deteriorated when Susi was brought to Britain by her boss. …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Philippines at four-month low after Q1 GDP miss

    BANGKOK, May 28 (Reuters) - Philippine shares hit a more than four-month low on Thursday after economic growth in the first quarter was slower than expected, while Thai stocks retreated after disappointing ... …

  • Philippine economic growth slows to 5.2 percent in 1Q

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Sluggish government spending slowed Philippine economic growth in the first quarter of this year, officials said Thursday. …

  • PSE to sell Makati and Ortigas offices
    PSE to sell Makati and Ortigas offices

    Set to move to a unified headquarters in Bonifacio Global City in 2016, the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) has issued plans to sell their offices in Makati and Ortigas. PSE President Hans Sicat issued that PSE means to sell the offices, but that they may also opt to rent them out instead. …

  • ‘Inland areas could be exposed to tsunami-like waves’
    ‘Inland areas could be exposed to tsunami-like waves’

    While strong earthquakes cause tsunamis in coastal areas, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) warned that inland areas could also be exposed to tsunami-like waves, or seiche, if located near or around bodies of water. In a recent earthquake awareness seminar in Muntinlupa, Phivolcs supervising science research specialist Joan Salcedo explained that a seiche is a large wave similar to a tsunami, triggered by strong ground shaking from an earthquake or volcanic …

  • China gives ‘gentle reminder’ to Phl, warns small nations
    China gives ‘gentle reminder’ to Phl, warns small nations

    China gave the Philippines a “gentle reminder” last Tuesday that Beijing will not bully small countries but warned these nations not to make trouble willfully and endlessly. “Here is a gentle reminder to the Philippines: China will not bully small countries, meanwhile, small countries shall not make trouble willfully and endlessly. The Chinese Foreign Ministry also said that China would continue to build other civilian facilities on relevant maritime features in the disputed Spratly Islands …

  • Back-channel diplomacy pushed for Phl-China dispute
    Back-channel diplomacy pushed for Phl-China dispute

    The Philippines should consider backchannel diplomacy to prevent its territorial dispute with China from deteriorating further, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said yesterday. There are a lot of Filipino businessmen with businesses in China and they have friends and connections there. Let’s utilize that, ask them to talk to their friends on how we can resolve this matter peacefully,” Marcos said. …

  • Phl, Japan to deepen ties amid China sea claims
    Phl, Japan to deepen ties amid China sea claims

    Japan and the Philippines are set to bolster security ties when President Benigno Aquino visits Tokyo next week, the latest move by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to beef up cooperation with Southeast Asian nations facing China’s growing naval ambitions. The two sides will likely agree to start talks on a framework for the transfer of defense equipment and technology and to discuss a possible pact on the status of Japanese military personnel visiting the Philippines to facilitate joint training and …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options