Visit the Maldive Islands Before It's Too Late
The Republic of the Maldives is a popular destination for beach-loving travelers, but if you haven't yet visited the cluster of islands, time may be running out. The vacation spot could find itself under water before long.
According to NPR, climate change and rising sea levels could cause the country to sink below sea level. The 1,190 islands have an average ground level of 1.5 meters, and are spread over 35,000 square miles of the Indian Ocean off the western coast of Sri Lanka.
"Over half of our islands are eroding at an alarming rate," President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom
said at the U.N.'s 2007 climate change meeting. "In some cases, island communities have had to be relocated to safer islands. Without immediate action, the long-term habitation of our tiny islands is in serious doubt."
However, Professor Paul Kench of the University of Auckland in New Zealand doesn't agree. In a 2009 L.A. Times article, the coastal geomorphologist said, "The outlook for the Maldives is not all doom and gloom. The islands won't be the same, but they will still be there."
In his published report conducted with other scientists from Australia, New Zealand and the Maldives, Kench claims that the islands can adjust to the environmental changes, and ultimately change shape and build vertically.
What the future holds for the Maldives remains to be seen, but if the destination has been on your list for a while, it's best not to wait. Book your travel sooner rather than later.