Wednesday, July 09, 2008

German scientists forecast loss of Vietnam coastline

Kiel, Germany - German scientists forecast Tuesday that fertile parts of Vietnam's coastline would be washed away over the next few decades, but added that sediment from the Mekong river might create some new land further to the west. The staff of the University of Kiel in Germany and other German and Vietnamese scientists have for the past five years been studying what is happening to silt washed through the Mekong Delta and the Saigon River. Professor Karl Stattegger of the university's Geoscience Institute said the delta was now carrying the sediment further to the west. Rising sea levels and stronger wave action were washing it out into the Gulf of Thailand. "We expect new land to form west of the delta near the border between Vietnam and Cambodia," he said. Fellow scientist Klaus Schwarzer said mangrove trees, which form forests in salt-water mud, could protect the delta coast, but were themselves being eroded away by motorized shipping in the many arms of the delta.