The Beauty and Potential Dangers of Artificial Islands

Is it possible to build artificial islands that do not cause damage to seafloor ecosystems?
Loukia Papadopoulos

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Artificial islands are everywhere. A quick look at Google maps and you can spot 450 of them.

This is because they serve as extra land for overpopulated areas affected by global warming and enable economic development. But they also come with certain disadvantages.

Their construction severely affects the areas' seafloor ecosystems which are very necessary for marine life. That's why it is essential for engineers to take into consideration these ecosystems when building islands.

The ecosystems are important for providing food, building materials, nutrient cycling, and pollution filtration. When artificial islands are built directly over these already fragile ecosystems, they can cause permanent damage and threaten delicate coral reefs and seagrass beds.

Luckily, there are ways to avoid these detrimental effects. All it requires is proper planning and engineering.

For instance, engineers can use an active oyster reef composed of a woven web of ‘fuzzyrope’ that supports marine growth or create “sponge cities”, which use permeable surfaces and green infrastructures to reduce water runoff from cities.

These are just a few of the many ways to build islands and protect our precious marine ecosystems. To learn more, watch our video. 

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