The Marine Environmental Impacts of Artificial Island Construction Dubai, UAE
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In the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is building three colossal artificial islands— each in the shape of a palm tree—in the Arabian Gulf. This has prompted several other Gulf countries to construct artificial islands. To determine the impacts of the first of these Palm Islands, The Palm Jumeirah, I traveled to Dubai and interviewed governmental agencies, environmental groups, and the developer’s environmental scientists. I analyzed the island’s impacts on marine wildlife as well as the developer’s mitigation efforts and the developer’s compliance with the relevant environmental laws. The Palm Jumeirah has buried and asphyxiated wildlife, increased turbidity, and changed the alongshore sediment transport. It has also created habitat along its rocky breakwater and within its lagoons. The developer has implemented several environmental mitigation measures, and has generally adhered to the Equator Principles. However, the developer missed a few important opportunities to mitigate. Also, due to political pressure and legal loopholes the developer has been allowed to ignore relevant environmental laws. In the future, developers should adhere to local environmental laws, avoid building islands on coral reefs, and adhere to the Equator Principles meticulously.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
environmental mitigation efforts
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