It’s no secret that the American shopping mall is going the way of the dodo as big box stores and online shopping take over. But what to do with the abandoned buildings? Perhaps we should learn from a group of people in Thailand who recently turned an old mall into a giant fish pond. The Bangkok Post reports that the abandoned Bang Lamphu shopping mall in Thailand’s capital city had no roof and got filled with water, creating a 1,640 square foot pond that was a breeding ground for mosquitoes. To rid themselves of both the danger and annoyance, local residents took matters into their own hands by bringing in fish of various species to fill the pond and eat the bugs.

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The Supreme Court of Thailand ordered the top seven storeys of the now-condemned New World department store demolished in 1994 after it ruled that they were added illegally to a four-storey building permit. After the top was demolished in 1997 and no roof was left, the inside of the structure slowly filled with water. “The fish only came in around 2003-2004 after people around here were affected by the mosquito problems from the water logging inside the New World building,” neighbour Sommai Chuanpak told the Bangkok Post. “We even bought carp and raised them. At first there were not many, but the number grew after several years. Now all the carp and other big fish have been stolen.”

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According to locals, the fish used to attract some visitors who came to feed them and view the spectacle, but after travel writer Jesse Rockwell published photographs of the indoor pond, people have been flocking en masse to see the fish. The building has been officially off limits to the public since 2011, but as a result of the recent publicity and influx of visitors the local government has put up barricades to keep people out. The building will be inspected for safety and if it’s found to be unsafe, it will be demolished, leaving the fish without a home.

Via Bangkok Post

Lead image via Shutterstock; Flickr Creative Commons images via PeterThoeny and bookscorpion