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Title: Environment impact assessment for the proposed tourist resort redevelopment project in Mirihi Island Resort, South Ari Atoll
Authors: CDE Consulting
Keywords: Redevelopment projects
Resort development
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Physical environment
Natural and biological environment
Environmental impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental management plan
Environmental monitoring plan
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: Mar-2014
Citation: CDE Consulting. (2014). Environment impact assessment for the proposed tourist resort redevelopment project in Mirihi Island Resort, South Ari 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 resort redevelopment project in Mirihi Island Resort, South Ari Atoll. The proponent of this project is Manta Maldives Pvt Ltd. The primary rationale for the proposed additional activity is to upgrade its infrastructure and services to increase its appeal to high-end tourism. The proposed project involves demolition of some of the guest services, staff services, infrastructure and staff accommodation blocks; renovation of guest service infrastructure and jetties; construction of a new water suite; and manually clearing a snorkelers reef entrance. All project activities will be in conformance to the laws and regulations of the Maldives, and relevant international conventions that Maldives is party to. The key laws and regulations applicable to this project are: Tourism Law, Environmental Protection and Preservation Act, Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation 2012, Waste Management Regulation, Regulation on Cutting Down and Uprooting Trees and Dewatering Regulation and tourism related regulations. Approvals for the project have been granted from Ministry of Tourism. The study area for the project is Mirihi Island Resort and baseline conditions are based on field assessments undertaken on the island in February 2014. Baseline conditions indicate that the existing environment of the proposed site is generally in good condition, particularly the marine environment. This is one of the smallest resorts in the Maldives and therefore has very limited variations in vegetation cover. The beach environment is in good condition apart from erosion on the eastern end. The dominant benthic cover in the proposed snorkeler’s reef area is live coral cover Significant impacts during construction phase of the project are potential significant impacts on the marine environment due to sedimentation, turbidity and direct excavation; impact on vegetation cover, ground water quality, marine water quality and land. The specific impacts on the coral reef and lagoon environment include loss of lagoon benthos organisms and coral life along the project foot print and temporary impacts on fish life. These impacts are likely to persist only in the short-term and are cumulative. Operations stage has mainly beneficial impacts. All these negative impacts can be minimized with proper mitigation measures recommended in the report and as practiced in the current environmental management framework. Mitigation measures have been proposed to minimise impacts on the coral reef, marine water quality, ground water quality, coastal erosion, soil contamination, terrestrial biodiversity loss and, health and safety. The Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for this project is designed to produce a framework for anticipated impacts, including practicable and achievable performance requirements and systems for monitoring, reporting and implementing corrective actions. In addition, provide evidence of compliance to legislation, policies, guidelines and requirements of relevant authorities. The framework also defines communications mechanisms, training, stakeholder engagement plan and health and safety management plan. The alternatives evaluated for the project are alternative methods to create a reef entrance and additional demolition waste disposal methods. No changes are recommended except for the use of suggested additional demolition waste methods. The “No Project” option has also been explored and this option is not deemed preferable, given the current condition of the tourism product. Monitoring plan is designed to assess any changes to the marine, coastal, terrestrial and social environment of the island including groundwater quality, marine water quality, coral reef and fish health, occupational health and safety, waste, vegetation cover and socio-economic indicators. A reporting framework is established. In conclusion, the proposed additional activities for this project have been designed in conformance to the relevant laws and regulations of Maldives. The most significant impacts are expected to be short-term impacts on the marine water quality, soil condition, vegetation, coral reef and lagoon bottom habitats. However, mitigation measures have been proposed to adequately minimise these significant impacts and the proposed EIA and the attached EMP defines the mechanisms to implement and monitor these measures.
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