The World, a man-made archipelago in the shape of the seven continents developed off Dubai’s coast, is allegedly sinking into the sea, alarming serious concerns for the environment, evidence produced in a Dubai court by Penguin Marine, the company that took the business contract to provide boat travel around the islands in ‘The World’, suggests.

According to Penguin Marine, the navigational channels between the islands are also silting up.

“The evidence showed erosion and deterioration of The World islands. The islands are gradually falling back into the sea, Wilmot-Smith, QC for penguin Marine was quoted as saying in media.

Opposing the contentions, The World’s developer Nakheel denied of any kind of deterioration of the islands admitting about the work being slowed down during recession. “This is a ten-year project which has slowed down, but will be completed,” Dubai’s leading developers told media.

Intended for creating world’s ultimate place for luxury travel with villas, resorts, hotel complexes, commercial properties and the like being constructed on all 300 islands, The World has sold about 70 percent of the islands, Nakheel informed.

According to Nakheel, the islands are not sinking. Our periodical survey over the past three years didn't observe any substantial erosion that required sand nourishment, a spokesperson told media.

Though Penguin lost its case against Nakheel on Thursday with reasoning expected to be heard at a later date, the allegation has raised concerns among environment groups to study the impact of The World islands on marine life and ecosystem.

According to environment experts, coral reefs in the region of Emirate states are at risk and gradually declining. The construction of The World islands has added to the destruction and environmentalists fear even if developers create artificial reefs to attract marine life, it will have disastrous effect on native marine life.

Amidst such uncertainties and environmental threats, Dubai’s plan to create another group of islands in the Gulf named “The Universe” in the next 15 to 20 years, could mean putting ecology at higher risks.