I am honoured to have the opportunity today to present to you a speech on technology. As we all understand, technology has become part and parcel of humankind. To put it plainly, nowadays, world cannot exist without technology. My focus today is on one of the most outstanding feet of technology in the world. This is the Palm islands in Dubai. I suppose, there are a few people left who didn’t see or hear about these two extremely beautiful and magnificent islands in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Palm Jumeirah and Palm Jebel Ali are the names of the two islands. The Palm Islands are purely a product of man’s creativity and are the largest artificial islands in the world. These islands were designed to look just like actual palm trees from an aerial view. Each of the islands was supposed to be in the clear shape of a palm tree. With a crescent shaped finishing on the top. The island was intended to have huge sections of residential areas, recreational centres, luxurious hotels, massive road network and many other things.
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The unusual idea in constructing the islands consisted in building them using technology only. In this respect, two renowned marine contractors namely, Jan De Nul from Belgium and Van Oord from Dutch were chosen to spearhead the project. According to Ritchie Wikki (2009), the prince of Dubai, Sheikh Muhammad bin Rasheed Al Maktoun, came up with a 2 billion dollar plan of making Dubai one of the best destinations for powerful and world-class tourism. The only building material used when constructing the Palm Island was sand and rocks because the prince of Dubai wanted the island to be exotic and traditional. He was very traditional to come up with all the design ideas in which he insisted that the engineers must adopt a technology that strictly uses rocks and sand.
The plan to construct this artificial wonder was conceived to bolster the Emrate’s economic growth. Since time immemorial, Dubai mainly depended on the harvesting of oil for economic growth. With time though, the country ran out of oil for sell. Somebody had to come up with an idea to save the country from impending poverty. Prince Sheikh therefore came up with the Palm Island idea. Mass tourism was a genius idea by the Crown Prince because Dubai is always sunny in the year, and the beaches would come in handy.
The creators of the art islands obviously needed the best brains and handy work they could get. The Prince had to search for the best, and so he first landed a deal with the Dutch republic. Dutch is very well known for adding extra land mechanically to their country. The island was supposed to be build right on the sea (Salahuddin, 2006). Considering the large tides and the rising of waters experienced, it was obvious that the engineers had to be sure they could undergo the risk of coming up with the mega structure. The engineers and the research teams went ahead and mathematically worked out the possibilities. The Arabian Gulf was 30 meters deep in the sea and 160 kilometres wide. This measurement was too short for destructive waves. Since it was necessary to keep the islands safe from the waves, they had to build a barrier that would protect the islands from the full impact of water. In August 2001, the construction of the barrier started.
In November 2001, 1200 engineers from other countries were given the job. They went to work. These engineers had an upper hand because they had worked on other state of the art megastructures that included the Hong Kong International Airport and the great Holland North Road. With this kind of work, the construction required many heavy and expensive machinery. 15 dumpers, 9 badgers, 4 dredgers, 30 heavy land based machines and 10 cranes among very many other construction machines were put to work. The first thhing to be done was to pour enough sand into the sea bed. The machines called ‘dredgers’ collected some sand from the sea and carefully poured it onto the strategic place where the protection barrier was to be constructed. Lots of sand was needed for this. Though Dubai is rich with sand because of the deserts, the sand was too soft and fine compared to the rough sand in the sea. Fragments of stone and breaks were therefore poured on to the sand to make it rough. This sand thus helped to raise breakwater, the barrier that was to protect the island, to a height of 4 metres above sea level.
Large layers of rock were needed to protect and absorb the force of waves in the water as they hit. Each rock weighed a total of 6 tons. Since the amount of rocks was very large, the mining spread to over 16 quarries across (Dubai CDM Smith, 2000). Immediately after the breakwater was built half way the length that was required, the engineers started working on the islands. Since the islands were carefully curved on all edges, and were supposed to appear like a palm tree, the Global Positioning System (GPR) was used as a guide to pour sand into the sea. During the work on the islands, cellular phones helped as reference gadgets on the island. They were installed with special software. The software helped in detecting the correct locations for certain activities to be carried out.
As the building of the megastructure started even without finishing the background research of the area, it later dawned on the engineers that fresh water was not moving continuously inside the palm shaped areas of the island. The very strong tides were evidently not clearing the system in a proper way, and it was feared that water would stagnate. By August 2003, the barrier that was to protect the island was completed. Through a lot of sacrifice and hard work within 2 months, the construction of the island was completed too.