Govt to tackle riverbank erosion

The government has ordered a survey on erosion in river basins across the country, particularly along the Chao Phraya and Pasak riverbanks where several houses have collapsed into the water.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Preecha Rengsomboonsuk said he had been instructed by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to survey the banks of the Chao Phraya in tambons Sai Noi, Bang Chanee and Ban Kum of Ayutthaya's Bang Ban district, where serious erosion has been reported.

Mr Preecha said he would coordinate with the interior, transport, and agriculture and cooperatives ministries to slow riverbank erosion in the district, where the tides are rapid. A dyke would be constructed to prevent further erosion, the minister said.

The Mineral Resources Department and the Public Works and Town Planning Department have been assigned to survey a site for the proposed dyke and design it.

To determine the full extent of riverbank erosion across the country, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry and related agencies will inspect affected areas in 25 river basins nationwide.

In Ayutthaya, Bang Ban municipal mayor Chukiart Boonmee said he would propose that the government purchase 100 rai of land and turn the site into a housing project for residents whose homes had been destroyed by erosion.

Meanwhile, residents living along the Chao Phraya and Pasak rivers in Ayutthaya were preparing to petition the Administrative Court to ban cargo ships from navigating the waterways.

They claim that heavy use of the rivers by commercial barges has caused erosion and affected their livelihoods.

Chatri Yuprasert, deputy chairman of the provincial administration organisation in Ayutthaya, said shipping on the two major rivers created waves which crashed against the riverbanks, causing them to erode more rapidly.

A 100m-long section of the Pasak River River in Aranyik community in Ayutthaya's Nakhon Luang district collapsed on Friday, along with one house. Residents blamed heavy commercial river traffic and changing water levels.

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Writer: Sunthon Pongpao
Position: Reporter