Is It Time to Stop Building Man-Made Islands?
There are currently over 7.5 billion people on Earth, and the number is only getting bigger. As big a planet as Earth is, our most densely populated areas have to prepare for an impending overpopulation crisis. One of the most common proposals to combat the threat is to create man-made islands, which are far more common than you think.
Humans have developed man-made islands for thousands of years, some tracing as far back as the Neolithic era to aid in farming efforts. Nowadays, we whip up these landmasses for airports, military bases or even luxury condos. But as cities get more overcrowded, sea levels rise and countries desire more land of their own, advocates for our ecological resources are raising red flags. It bears asking: Is it safe to keep building man-made islands?
There Are Benefits in Modern Times for Man-Made Islands
One of the most famous collections of man-made islands in the present day is the extravagant Palm Jumeirah in the United Arab Emirates. As of 2016, the collection of islands has a number of malls, hotels and luxury homes with over 10,500 residents. It even has its own monorail for people to get from the islands to the mainland. It’s a stunning display of modern craftsmanship that could set an example for cities battling overpopulation, but this isn’t the typical use case for man-made islands. Some of them actually provide housing for far more delicate creatures.
Not Everyone Is a Fan of Man-Made Islands
While animal sanctuaries and housing alternatives are innovative achievements, they can come at a pretty hefty price. Landmass doesn’t just bubble up from underwater. The sand and dense materials to form artificial islands have to be moved from their natural habitats to build new ones, disrupting ecosystems in their paths.
What’s in Store for Man-Made Islands
Back in Dubai, the Palm Jumeirah will eventually have some new island neighbors. Larger man-made islands Palm Jebel Ali, Palm Deira and a collection of 300 islands shaped like a map of the earth will be open for business just a monorail ride away from the Palm Jumeirah. They’re not necessarily following the warnings from scientists about obvious damage to the Persian Gulf already underway, and those exclusive islands are in high demand.