Bangkok: Canal Network Poses Serious Health Risks

The impending death of a high profile resident foregrounds the dangers of klongs, canals that function both as sewers and as transportation in Bangkok.
November 24, 2003, 11am PST | Connie Chung
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The impending death of Big, the lead singer of a Thai boy band, "from an infection by a legal fungus that blooms in Bangkok's klongs" has made residents more wary of "the centuries-old klong network, which had inspired 17th century European missionaries to dub Bangkok the 'Venice of the East.' " While officials have addressed the problem in the past, by dredging and building new waste water treatment plants, the water quality did not improve. Furthermore, until the recent incident, residents "just go used to it." Unfortunately, "[b]eyond a complete overhaul of Bangkok's sewerage—an idea dismissed by the city government as too expensive—it seems the capital will have to live with the odor and the sight of black sludge beside homes and offices."

Thanks to Connie Chung

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Published on Monday, November 24, 2003 in Time
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