Marco Rubio raised fears about China’s “artificial islands” blocking ocean traffic in the South China Sea during the recent GOP debate, but scientists think shipping lanes are the least of our concerns. A new article in the journal Science points out that the man-made islands are already taking a huge toll on the environment.
China’s already built its faux islands in the middle of the South China Sea using the Spratly Islands as building blocks. Spratly Islands is kind of a convenient misnomer for the Chinese because they aren’t really islands at all; they’re ring-shaped coral reefs, or atolls. They are, for both fish and Chinese island builders, perfectly formed. They offer smaller fish protection and larger fish potential hatcheries. They offer the Chinese convenient places to pour sand in order to make artificial land.