Metropolis of the future in Saudi Arabia can harm nature (9 photos)

21 December 2023

This year there was news that a 170-kilometer futuristic metropolis would be built in Saudi Arabia. However, experts recently said that such a metropolis could harm nature - and become a “death trap” for millions of birds.

This spring it became known that Saudi Arabia is building a futuristic metropolis called The Line. The metropolis will consist of two parallel skyscrapers with mirrored facades that will run through desert and mountainous terrain. The height of the buildings will be 500 meters, and the length of the entire complex will be 170 kilometers. As the authors of the project, the construction of which will cost $1 trillion, say, it will “preserve nature.” Saudi Arabia calls it a "civilization revolution" and, judging by satellite images, construction has already begun. However, conservationists are sounding the alarm about the complex - they say it will become a lethal barrier to birds migrating between Europe and Africa each year.

In a recently published study, experts said a combination of factors poses a huge risk to birds, including the mirrored façades and wind turbines planned to be built on top. Nightingales, waxwings, larks, partridges and doves are all bird species that use this route, including the endangered Egyptian vultures and saker falcons. Already in the first period after construction, 2.1 million birds may be affected.

"Birds often crash into the windows of tall buildings in urban environments. And this is a 500-meter-tall building across Saudi Arabia, with windmills on top. If nothing is done about it, there is a serious risk of causing great harm to migratory birds," - says Professor William Sutherland, Director of Research in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge.

The Times notes that 988 million birds are killed each year in the United States alone as a result of collisions with buildings - and the risk is higher in areas with glass or mirrored buildings. Meanwhile, the creators of the metropolis assure that “together with international partners they are conducting research to understand the characteristics of the migration of animals and birds and assess how the consequences can be mitigated.” They are also considering creating tunnels for birds to fly through.

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