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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the proposed reclamation and sheet piling at MPL vessel repair yard in Thilafushi Thilafushi, Kaafu Atoll, Maldives
Authors: Zahid, Ahmed
Keywords: Existing environment
Stakeholder consultations
Impacts and mitigation measures
Environmental monitoring
Issue Date: 1-Aug-2010
Citation: Zahid, A. (2010). Environmental impact assessment for the proposed reclamation and sheet piling at MPL vessel repair yard in Thilafushi Thilafushi, Kaafu Atoll, Maldives. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This report addresses the environmental concerns of the proposed reclamation of an area of about 2,000m2 (0.2hectares) by dredging sand from the immediate lagoon following sheet piling at the periphery of Vessel Repair Yard of Maldives Ports Limited (MPL) in Thilafushi, Malé Atoll. The primary objective of the project is to improve the services provided by the facility and to provide safe and adequate access to the facility. As such the project encompasses dredging an area of about 1,800m2 to an average depth of about 3.8m, construction of steel sheetpile quaywall initially (which would be later strengthened by a concrete panel with appropriate capping later) and the reclamation of an area of about 2000m2. The proposed project area is on the southeast corner of Thilafushi, which is the official landfill island for the entire Maldives. The site currently has a small jetty extending a few meters from the shoreline with a slipway on its east and a seawall made of sand-cement bags on its west. The jetty and the seawall are easily damaged and involve high annual repair costs. Therefore, the proposed project will provide more permanent structures and improved services thereby reducing the long term costs and improving efficiency of the operations. A large proportion of the reef flat on the southeast end of Thilafushi, where the MPL site has been located amidst other industrial sites, has been dredged to provide access to this area by large cargo and other vessels with an entrance channel at the southeast corner of Thilafushi reef. The proposed dredging reflects only a small proportion (less than 10%) of the area that has been dredged on the southeast reef flat to provide access to different industries operating in the area. The reef flat in this area is almost completely dead with a few live porites. The reef slope is also mainly dead. Given the currents in the proposed dredge area is slow and generally in a westerly direction, the potential for the sediments to move to the reef flat would be small. However, it should be noted that there is a lack of long term data to support this observation. The proposed project takes place in an industrial area located on the part of Thilafushi that was reclaimed using garbage and continuous deposition and open burning of waste continuing in the vicinity of the site, the environment in the proposed area has already been subjected to large scale environmental impacts from dredging, reclamation, waste disposal and burning resulting in water and air quality deterioration. Therefore, the proposed project will have cumulative impacts of very small magnitude. The overall negative environmental impacts of the project are, therefore, considered to be insignificant. However, the project has several socio-economic benefits including improved protection to the coastline and it is recommended to allow the project to proceed as proposed. Environmental monitoring has been recommended only for the construction phase and three months thereafter with water quality as the main parameter. A monitoring report shall be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency within six months upon completion of the project.
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