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Dubai's 'The World' cancelled

Remember Dubai's The World? It was just one of a number of high profile construction projects for a country that seemed to have more dollars than sense. The plan was to create a series of man-made islands in the shape of the major landmasses on the planet. Eventually, plots of land on those islands would be sold off to the highest bidders for residential and commercial zoning. At least that was the plan, but then the world's economy went into the tank, and like a number of big projects, The World fell victim to the credit crunch, and was canceled.

That may be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to problems with the man made archipelago, which sits just 4 km off Dubai's coast. The Times Online is calling it "the world's most expensive shipping hazard", and worse yet, the tons of rock and sand that have been dumped into the Arabian Sea have altered the water flow and changed the environment there, which may have a long lasting impact on the ecosystem of that region too.

Now, The World, which in no way resembles the actual planet, is marked as off limits, with security boats patrolling its shores and warning buoys encircling the piles of rock and sand. Only one of the islands is actually occupied, and that one is owned by Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai. The rest have fallen into disarray and are described as looking like piles of muck by a local property agent. What was once a high profile symbol of the country's opulence, now seems like a failure of epic proportions.