The construction of the Palm Islands and The World harmed the surrounding ecosystem immediately. Wildlife plants and animals resulted in the burial, death, and asphyxiation because of continuous sand dredging and depositing, and the construction has resulted in increased fine sediment suspension in the waters off the coast of Dubai. Because of the sediment suspension caused by the project, limited light can penetrate in and filter to the sea floor. This can then result suffocation and endangering the health of marine life in the area.

Beach nourishment is a process which is used to build an entirely new beach for Palm Islands. Dredging is the process where sand is collected, or dredged from the intertidal zone, and deposited onto the ‘beach’. With much development and tourism concentrated in such areas which are particularly vulnerable to coastal erosion and storm-based changes, beach nourishment represents an important and strategic means of “protecting” coastal economic interests.

Palm Island II in Dubai

One of the primary initial effects of nourishment, both at the mine and nourishment sits, and along the piping in between, is the suspension of fine silt and clay sediments in the surrounding waters. Since fine sediments stirred up by the dredging process take longer to settle, they remain suspended in the water for longer periods of time. Nakheel also failed to use silt screens while dredging in order to keep turbidity low at the dredge sites (Salahuddin 2006). These finer sediments often result in the asphyxiation of fish and benthic fauna, such as crustaceans and echinoderms, as they become lodged in gills and lungs of organisms while they are breathing.

Salahuddin B. “The Marine Environmental Impacts of Artificial Island Construction, Dubai, UAE”. p. 1-96. 2006
Greene K. “Beach Nourishment: A Review of the Biological and Physical Impacts. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.” ASMFC Habitat Management Series #7. 2002.
Thapar H, Yannas S. “491: Microclimate and Urban Form in Dubai. Architectural Association School of Architecture.” 2008.

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