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|Title: ||Environmental impact assessment for the proposed outer reef maintenance dredging project in Maafaru island, Noonu atoll|
|Other Titles: ||ނ. މާފަރުގެ ބޭރު ނެރު ފުޅާކުރުމުގެ މަޝްރުޢޫއިން ތިމާވެއްޓަށް އަސަރުކުރާނެ މިންވަރު ބަޔާންކުރާ ރިޕޯޓް|
|Authors: ||CDE Consultant|
|Keywords: ||Waste management|
Policy and legal framework
Marine water quality
Marine protected areas
Marine sensitive areas
Environmental management plan
|Issue Date: ||Feb-2018|
|Citation: ||CDE Consultant. (2018). Environmental impact assessment for the proposed outer reef maintenance dredging project in Maafaru island, Noonu atoll. Male': Maldives|
|Abstract: ||The purpose of this document is to fulfil the requirements to get necessary environmental
clearance from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to carry out the proposed
maintenance dredging and widening of the outer reef entrance of Maafaru Island, Noonu Atoll.
The project is part of International airport development project in Maafaru, which has an
existing EIA Approval. This EIA was meant to be an EIA Addendum to the project but did not
qualify as an Addendum. As per EIA procedures, additional activities, although it is part of an
existing project, cannot be addressed in an EIA Addendum, if the site is 500 m away from the
approved project site. The proponent of the project is Regional Airports, Ministry of Tourism,
The main additional works proposed are to widen and deepen the existing outer reef entrance
and to build a temporary sand bed to unload construction material and equipment on to the
airport site. The changes are required to allow the Contractor’s barge to access the lagoon and
the airport site for unloading. The existing reef entrance and lagoon depths are not suitable for
the proposed barge to access.
The proposed channel widening activity offers significant benefits to the local community and
the airport. The channel is narrow and with the increase in traffic during airport operations, a
widened channel offers a welcome development to the community, especially since the harbour
redevelopment project is also ongoing on the island.
The proposed sand bed offers no specific benefit to the community but is meant to be removed.
To-date 3 EIAs have been prepared for this project for different proponents. This report takes
note of the progressive changes that have taken place over the life of the project since 2009. The
most recent report was approved 2 months ago. Hence, some of the baseline data used in this
report uses the latest EIA results especially closer to the island. New assessments were
conducted on the outer channel area.
Most components of the proposed developments are generally in conformance to the laws and
regulations of the Maldives. Dredging and Reclamation Approval is required from EPA.
The two proposed work sites have been heavily modified in the past. The outer channel was
dredged before and the proposed location for the temporary sand bed has been used to create a
similar temporary sand bed by the previous developer. Thus the foot print of the impact is
largely limited to previously dredged areas. Significant impacts associated with dredging and reclamation activities are present in this
project. However, given the work is being undertaken on previously dredged foot prints and due
to the short-time frame of works the overall impacts are expected to be moderate compared to an
One of the most critical impacts highlighted in the assessment is the potential for dredge waste to
create further environmental issues, including continued turbidity due to erosion and deposition
in the dredged channel. After discussions during Scoping Meeting, Island Council meeting and
Proponent consultations, it has been recommended to avoid disposing the dredge waste on the
side of the channel and to transport them back to the Airport Construction site to be used for
reclamation. This will help reduce the overall reclamation foot print as envisaged in the original
The Island Council also sought to address the possibility of creating a new channel instead of
widening the existing channel. This was due to the presence of three patch reefs in front of (but
180 m away from) the channel. The Contractor and the Proponent identified that it may be
difficult to accommodate a new component to the project that has significant budget
Alternative options have been evaluated for the most significant impacts. Options to avoid the
temporary sand beds, create a new channel and to dispose channel dredge waste was considered.
Among these a new option to dispose the dredge waste preferred, as explained above.
Consultations were carried out with members of Noonu Maafaru Island Council. Island
community of Maafaru, Regional Airports - Ministry of Tourism, and Ministry of Housing and
Infrastructure. Maafaru island council and the public are in favour of this project since the
project is beneficial for the community.
An Environment Management Plan (EMP) and Monitoring Plan (MP) are presented in this
report that addresses the new activities. However, the EMP and MP presented here must be
combined with the programmes presented in the Original EIA.
Overall the community of Maafaru, and island council were welcoming of this project. It offers
benefits to the community and the airport during operations stage. Thus, this report concludes
that the project should be implemented on grounds of very high socio-economic benefits.|
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