DUBAI – THE LONG TERM IMPACTS CAUSED BY THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE ISLANDS
Because the Palm Islands are less than ten years old, we do not yet have data showing what the long-term effects of the islands will be on the surrounding environment. Only very recently have any successful and thorough studies emerged covering subjects such as reef response, shoreline erosion, and species population changes. Still, with a certain amount of knowledge regarding the islands’ construction, as well as the environmental conditions in the Persian Gulf and what has happened with man-made islands in other parts of the world, we can make a number of hypotheses regarding the future of the Islands’ impact.
One major long-term impact results directly from the physical created of the islands using dredged sediment. Since Nakheel is introducing sediment into an area where there originally was none, there is always the risk that in the future nourishment will need to be continued/re-done or begun in another location as the new shoreline erodes back to its original state, especially since “Sand from nourished beaches has been shown to erode at a higher rate than natural beaches, which leads to increased demand for sand over the life of a beach nourishment project rather than a decrease” (Greene 2002). Nakheel has installed various underwater filters in an attempt to prevent island erosion.
Pollution will also become an important factor in the coming years, as commercial and real estate development on the islands continues. Though Nakheel has declared its commitment to environmentally-friendly and sustainable practices, it is unlikely that it will be able to prevent all forms of pollution. Thus, over the coming years, it will be important to invest more research into the study of how pollution from industrial emissions, residential areas (sewage, home emissions, etc.), and tourism will affect the environments surrounding each individual island, as well as the gulf as a whole.
Greene K. “Beach Nourishment: A Review of the Biological and Physical Impacts. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.” ASMFC Habitat Management Series #7. 2002.
Soltau C, Smith GG, Retief G de F, van der Westhuysen AJ. “Predictions of shoreline evolution as a result of Palm Jumeirah.” 2005