Irritation und Verwirrung

Science & Space

Shanghai’s skyline glitters with sleek financial skyscrapers and glossy residential towers, but below the city’s lustrous facade lies an enduring problem. Thanks to mass urban migration, soft soil and global warming, Shanghai is sinking, and has been for decades. Since 1921, China’s most populous city has descended more than 6 ft. Across China, land subsidence affects more than 50 cities, where 49,000 sq. mi. of land have dropped at least 8 in.

It’s not just the numbers that are frightening: the problem has manifested itself tragically and more frequently of late. Earlier this month, a young woman unexpectedly fell through the sidewalk into a 20-ft.-deep sinkhole while walking along the street in Xi’an. In April, a woman died after falling through the sidewalk into a pit of boiling water in Beijing. Scientists have continuously warned of dire repercussions if the government does not implement more stringent guidelines…

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