Anthropogenic influences on coastal environmental changes in the Mekong Delta: a study from Ben Tre Province, Southern Vietnam
16/05/23 09:35AM
Veettil, Bijeesh Kozhikkodan; Costi, Juliana; Quang, Ngo Xuan; Van Nam, Thai; Van, Dong Doan; et al.  Environmental Monitoring and Assessment; Dordrecht Vol. 194, (Sep 2022): 773. DOI:10.1007/s10661-022-10177-7


Low-lying coastal environments are highly dynamic and sensitive to natural as well as anthropogenic perturbations. Climate change, sea level rise, storms and tsunamis are the natural phenomena that affect the deltaic coasts in Southeast Asia in general and Vietnam in particular. The effects of these phenomena can be exacerbated by human activities such as mangrove deforestation, aquaculture and infrastructure development. Conversely, the low-lying coastal areas are important in the economic development of Southeast Asian countries. In the Vietnamese Mekong Delta, coastal areas have been affected by a number of factors, such as climate change, sea level rise, aquaculture, pollution and tourism-related activities in recent decades. The present study investigated shoreline changes, expansion of aquaculture ponds, soil salinity changes and salinity intrusion in the river systems along the coastal areas of Ben Tre Province in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta between 1998 and 2020 using satellite imagery and field data. Variations in erosion and accretion were found to be not unique along the coast of Ben Tre. There was a rapid expansion of aquaculture ponds between 1998 and 2015 and a slight decline since then. Soil salinity has been increased between 1998 and 2020; it is seen from recent satellite data that soil is becoming more saline in the inland areas of Ben Tre. Saltwater intrusion into the rivers of Ben Tre is considered associated with El Niño-La Niña conditions. It is suggested that reforestation of abandoned shrimp ponds in Ben Tre by mangrove vegetation can be effective as a bioshield against coastal hazards, such as sea level rise and shoreline erosion.