Aside from geopolitical tensions, environmental concerns have been raised about the impact on fragile reef ecosystems caused by habitat destruction, pollution, and disruption of migration routes. These new islands are being constructed on reefs that were previously one meter (3 ft 3 in) below the surface of the sea level. China had to destroy surrounding reefs and pump 40 to 50 million cubic meters (1.4109 to 1.8109 cu ft.) of sand and corals into these seven artificial islands, which cover a total area of 13.5 square kilometers (5.2 sq mi) and reach a height of a few metres.
This resulted in significant and irreversible environmental damage. “Sediment can wash back into the sea and form plumes that can suffocate marine life,” said Frank Muller-Karger, a professor of biological oceanography at the University of South Florida. “It could be laced with heavy metals, oil, and other chemicals from the ships and shore facilities being constructed,” he added. Difficulties in surviving in sediment-laden water, according to Dr. Muller-Karger, pose a threat to the biologically diverse reefs found throughout the Spratlys region.
Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, who travelled by plane and boat to the area around the Philippine-controlled island of Pagasa, reported seeing Chinese fishermen poaching and destroying coral reefs on a massive scale. As he observed Chinese fishermen poaching endangered species such as massive giant clams, he observed that “none of this demonstrates that China is protecting the poachers.” Beijing, on the other hand, does not appear to be doing anything to stop them.
Poachers we encountered showed no signs of fear when they realized we were filming them with our cameras”. He concludes by saying, “However shocking the reef plundering I witnessed was, it was nothing compared to the environmental destruction wrought by China’s massive island building programmer nearby.” More than nine kilometers (six miles) in length, the latest island China has just completed at Mischief Reef is the world’s longest artificial island. Nine kilometers of living reef have been buried beneath millions of tonnes of sand and gravel.”
According to a United Nations Environment Programmed (UNEP) report published in 2014, “Sand is more scarce than most people believe. From 1995 to 2001, the average price of sand imported by Singapore was US$3 per tonne, but from 2003 to 2005, the price increased to US$190 per tonne “ Concrete Block Paving for sale near me Despite the fact that both the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) had ratified the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, in the cases of Johnson South Reef, Hughes Reef, and Mischief Reef, the PRC provided free dredged sand in the EEZ the Philippines had claimed since 1978, claiming it to be the “waters of China’s Nansha Islands.” “The consequences of substrate mining are enormous, despite the fact that they are hidden. Dredging boats reject aggregate particles that are too fine to be used, resulting in massive dust plumes and a change in the turbidity of the water “….
John McManus, a professor of marine biology and ecology at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, said: “To bury a coral reef under tonnes of sand and gravel is the worst thing anyone can do to it. As a result of the damage, there are global security concerns. It is likely to be widespread enough to have a negative impact on fish stocks in the world’s most fish-dependent region.” He went on to explain the reason for this “”One of the reasons why the world has heard so little about the damage done to the reefs by the People’s Republic of China is that experts can’t get to them,” he explained, adding, “I have colleagues from the Philippines, Taiwan, the People’s Republic of China, Vietnam, and Malaysia who have worked in the Spratly Islands.” Except for a few from the People’s Republic of China, most would not be able to get close to the artificial islands, and those who did would not be able to release their findings.”