Most people know about Beijing’s air problem. Few people know it also has a serious water problem—but it’s the latter that’s causing the city to sink.
According to a new study, China’s capital uses up so much water from the ground beneath it that the city is sinking more than four inches every year.
The problem is Beijing is so dry to begin with. As the fifth most water-stressed city in the world, Beijing struggles to provide its 21 million citizens with enough water. But as it sucks out every last drop of moisture from the soil beneath it, it makes that soil harden and compress.
Meanwhile, Beijing continues to build more skyscrapers and other major structures, which make the city heavier as the earth it rests on literally shrinks.
Depending on how you look at it, this could all make Beijing look normal or China look seriously scary.