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The Physical Geography of Southeast Asia$
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Avijit Gupta

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199248025

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199248025.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 05 December 2021

Urban Pollution in Southeast Asia

Urban Pollution in Southeast Asia

(p.379) 22 Urban Pollution in Southeast Asia
The Physical Geography of Southeast Asia

Sham Sani

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks specifically at the pressures imposed by urbanization on the physical environment in Southeast Asia, leading to its degradation and a decline in the quality of life. This is followed by a discussion on the management responses highlighting some common concerns that need to be addressed in order to plan and manage urban systems better. Like many of their counterparts in the developing world, levels of urbanization in Southeast Asia are low by world standards. However, the growth rates of the urban population are high: 3–5 per cent per annum (Jones 1993). The relatively low levels of urbanization, nevertheless, are by no means a reflection of the failure of cities in the region to reach substantial sizes. Indeed, three of the very large cities of Southeast Asia, Jakarta, Bangkok, and Manila, carry 10 million people. The current trends and direction of urban growth are expected to continue, although the rates are likely to be somewhat retarded within these few years owing to the economic downturn recently experienced by the Southeast Asian countries. Such continued growth and rapid urbanization can only result in greater burdens to the already very strained urban systems, in terms of both the provision of an urban infrastructure and social services and the biophysical environment. One notable consequence of urban growth and population concentration in Southeast Asian cities is the pressure they generate on the provision of an infrastructure and essential services that eventually affects the environment, health, and quality of life. Here, the problems of providing an adequate infrastructure are immense, especially given the budgetary constraints. Policy response is often highly inadequate compared to the scale of the problems. Singapore’s special position as a city-state has enabled it to overcome problems that other Southeast Asian cities have not been able to cope with, particularly as it is not affected by the perennial problem of rural–urban migration. One major problem which is shared by many Southeast Asian cities is overcrowding and lack of proper shelter. Virtually all major cities have squatters. Squatters are basically illegal occupants of urban land that belongs to the government or private individuals.

Keywords:   flood, groundwater, haze, klongs, landfills, oil palm, salt-water intrusion, timber, urbanization, vegetation

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