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Dubai’s Palm Islands are the world’s largest man-made island clusters. Sometimes they are also called the eight wonder of the world. These are located at three different places across Dubai’s coast, namely Jumeirah, Jebel Ali and Deira. These islands, which are also known as The Palm Dubai or Dubai Palm are layered with rocks and sand upon a ten meter deep seabed. Sand meant for laying down these sites is obtained by dredging in the nearby sea. The Belgian dredging firm Jan De Nul and its Dutch counterpart Van Oord have been supervising the whole operation. Work is in an advanced stage in Jumeirah and Jebel Ali while it has also picked up in the Deira section.

Dredging ships propel sand over an area, which is decided by the coordinates of Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS). This process is called rain-bowing; the name is indicative of the arc which is created due to the falling sand here. Each Dubai Palm has a breakwater constructed at its periphery, which provides it a separation from the murky seawaters. These breakwaters are constructed by laying down several layers of rocks over the seabed by sea vessels. These vessels are called pontoons and the split-hopper barges. The Jumeirah Palm alone required a staggering 7 million tons of rocks to construct its breakwater.

Each of these Dubai Palm Islands is designed to depict a date palm tree, with a trunk, a crown and several fronds. The crescent islands at the periphery are assigned to play the role of breakwaters. The construction of the Palm Jebel Ali was started by Jan De Nul in 2002 and completed by the year-end of 2006. It required a 4 km long peninsula to be built, surrounded by a 200m wide and a 17 km long breakwater. This asked for reclaiming roughly 135,000,000 m³ of rock, sand and limestone. About 5,000,000 m³ of rocks were needed for strengthening the slope.

Dubai Palm islands, which are bound to increase Dubai’s costal length by an additional 520 km, will host water theme parks, luxury hotels, shopping malls, freehold villas, furnished beach apartments, health spas and similar other facilities. It was always Sheikh Maktoum’s dream to see Dubai grow in free trade and tourism, and that’s how these islands were conceived. The UAE property developer, Nakheel Properties, is supervising this whole work.

The Palm Jumeirah, which is 5 kilometers by 5 kilometers in size, will have a crown with 17 fronds, and a surrounding 11 kilometer-long breakwater. It will create 4,000 new homes over the period of next 3 to 4 years and add 78 kilometers to Dubai’s shoreline. In fact, the residents began moving into their Palm Jumeirah homes by the year-end 2006, five years after the dredging in the area had begun taking place.

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