Top urban news, trends and reports curated for the world’s city leaders. Edited by David Hatch

Bangkok river cleanup spearheaded by major hotels

Tourist ferries are part of the boat traffic on Bangkok's Chao Phraya River. Employees from hotels along the river recently held a cleanup. (David Hatch/Citiscope)

Stand on the terrace of Bangkok’s Shangri-La Hotel and you’ll hear the roar of engine noise and catch a whiff of exhaust. But these motors are not car engines — they’re from ferries, water taxis and other boats racing along the Chao Phraya River. Most shuttle tourists to the Grand Palace and other top attractions.

That heavy traffic has caused extensive pollution along the waterway, which cuts through the city’s heart. Theodore Koumelis reports for Travel Daily News that employees from eight major hotels along the river recently sought to clean it up. The project was designed to “heighten awareness” about the importance of maintaining a healthy river, he writes. The Bangkok Metropolitan Authority provided 48 small boats that employees used to retrieve garbage.

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post reports that some business and municipal leaders are thinking bigger about the city’s challenges. They contend that a ministry is needed to address the unchecked urbanization consuming Bangkok and other Thai cities. It would replace the “patchwork” of agencies that currently exert jurisdiction without a cohesive, unified strategy. 

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