There is a good chance that we could witness one of the world’s favourite holiday hotspots—the Maldives being literally swallowed by the Indian Ocean in the next 25 years. A string of coral islands in the Indian Ocean, south-west of India, the Maldives is renowned for its exotic marine life, relaxing beaches and luxurious resorts. But rising sea levels have meant that this island country may well cease to exist soon. Three of the archipelago’s 280 inhabited islands have already been evacuated, and oceanologists predict that most of the Maldives will be washed away within 2037 A.D.
The future is so grim that the local tourism department is now considering adopting the motto: Come See Us While We’re Still Here. “We can’t stop the sea rising,” the director of the Environmental Research Centre in Male, Mohamed Ali is reported to have said. Apparently it would cost the Maldives $1.2 billion (the country’s current GDP) just to protect a quarter of the inhabited islands with walls and a breakwater.
Maldives is gearing up to reside a new man-made island to call home soon. Hulhumale, or New Male, is the size of a gigantic football field made of shredded coral on top of an underwater reef—an artificial island which is being built to accommodate some 1,50,000 people when their own country sinks into the sea. Apparently more than $60 million has been spent to create this landmass. When completed in 15 years, it should house half the country’s current population. Global warming, bad planning from governments and too many tourists have ensured that some of the most amazing sights in the world will soon be relegated to history books.