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|Title: ||Environmental impact assessment for the proposed agriculture project on Dhandhoo, Baa. Atoll|
|Authors: ||Adam, M. Shiham|
|Keywords: ||Airstrip development projects|
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Environmental impact assessments
|Issue Date: ||Mar-2013|
|Citation: ||Adam, M. S. and Riyaz, M. (2013). Environmental impact assessment for the proposed agriculture project on Dhandhoo, Baa. Atoll. Male': Maldives|
|Abstract: ||Baa Atoll Hanifaru was leased in 2008 to Mr. Mohamed Shareef of Maafannu Sunny
Coast to develop agricultural activities. Following Environmental Regulation, an EIA
Screening Form was submitted to EPA during early 2009. However, after elapse of
some considerable period, the erstwhile Ministry of Housing and Environment
declared Hanifaru Bay (lagoon) as a protected site under environmental law. Later
Hanifaru was also declared as a protected site. In order compensate for this
unexpected ‘taking away’ of Hanifaru, the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, in
consultation with Mr. Mohamed Shareef, arranged an alternative island – Baa
The proposal under consideration is to develop Baa Atoll Dhandhoo as an agricultural
island along with three other minor functions. The primary business model is based on
production of high quality agricultural products. The island would also be a facility
providing complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) services. To complement
this function a small nursery of about 4,000 sq feet is proposed to grow indigenous
medicinal plants that are becoming rare/extinct. Finally a small visitor centre is
proposed which would allow visitors to learn about the activities on the island.
Two main approaches − the AutoPot and hydroponics systems − are proposed for the
production of rock-melon, cucumber, capsicum, chillies, lettuce, tomatoes etc. The
growth system is completely contained either in the grow pots or in water medium.
The main development feature of the island is 6 x 4,000 sq feet green houses to set up
the AutoPot and hydroponics system. The green houses will be imported and
assembled at site. Similarly the AutoPot system will be imported and assembled at
site. The hydroponics system will be constructed locally from the imported material.
Construction of the buildings will be kept to a minimum; staff accommodation,
kitchen / dining facilities will be constructed to accommodate no more than 15 people
for the agricultural works. Treatment rooms for CAM treatments will be built on the
northern side of the island. A small stilt-jetty is constructed on the western side of the
island. A complete list of the buildings is given in the layout plan.
The island would be self-contained, and so water production and power generation
will take place on the island. An RO plant of 10 cubic meters / day capacity is
proposed with intake from the lagoon. To supplement the water production rainwater
will be harvested from every possible roof on the island. A 25kW diesel power
generator will installed for producing electricity. Storage of diesel on the island will
be minimal transporting the required amounts from the nearby islands.
The baseline environmental conditions were assessed using standard methods.
Significant erosion was observed on the north-western and northern side of the island
while accretion was evident on the western side. There appears to be a directional
shift of the island to west. However, observation of such magnitude of movement has
entirely due to seasonal erosion and accretions have been observed in some islands of
Baa Atoll. No interventions for mitigating erosion were proposed at this stage. Biannual
monitoring of shoreline was proposed to determine the seasonal dynamics of
the island beach. No hard structures are proposed at this stage.
A Leopold Matrix was used to determine the scale and extent of the impacts. The
short-term environmental impact from this development project would to the island
ecosystem from clearance of vegetation. About 60-80 palms may have to remove
and/or relocated for the development work that will be replaced accordingly. Loss of
top-soil, and shade and the clearance may affect the vegetation around the periphery.
It is recommended that clearance take place only where necessary. Septic tanks
systems have been proposed for disposing human waste and pose no long-term
negative environmental impact considering the small number of people expected to be
based on the island. It is recommended that non-biodegradables should be regularly
removed from the island for disposal in to another island with arrangement made with
the Council. Biodegradable waste from the plant material will be left to appropriately
degrade on the island, thereby contributing nutrients pool of the island ecosystem.
The Atoll Council and the resorts were consulted regarding the project and their views
were considered. There was full support of the Council and no issues were
highlighted. There were also no issues raised from the resorts except they wished see
only minimal landscape
Impacts during the operation phase are considered to be negligible. Overall the impact
from the Project will be positive – demonstration of effective economic and
sustainable use of uninhabited small islands inducing encouragement for climatesmart
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