Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
|Title: ||Environmental impact assessment for the proposed resort development at Olhahali, Kaafu Atoll, Maldives|
|Authors: ||Water Solutions|
|Keywords: ||Resort development projects|
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Existing coastal environment
Existing marine environment
Existing terrestrial environment
Existing socio-economic conditions
Environmental impact assessments
|Issue Date: ||Jul-2014|
|Citation: ||Water Solutions. (2014). Environmental impact assessment for the proposed resort development at Olhahali, Kaafu Atoll, Maldives. Male': Maldives|
|Abstract: ||This report discusses the findings of an environmental impact study undertaken by Water Solutions Pvt Ltd for the development of Olhahali Island in North Male‟ atoll in to a resort. This project is proposed by Grand Meridian Pvt Ltd. The resort is developed with a total bed capacity of 100.
Olhahali is located in the North Male‟ Atoll, on the northern rim of the atoll on its own reef system. The island will be developed into a resort with 40 villas. Olhahali island is located about 75 km from capital Male‟ and lies southwest of Gaafaru island with a distance of 7.4 km. Olhahali island is formed within a coral reef system at the north edge of the North Male‟ atoll. The reef is triangular in shape with the widest area towards the east. There are two distinct deep lagoons formed in the reef system on the west side of the island.
Olhahali is a very small island which had been used as a picnic island before the island was closed for redevelopment. As such, the island has existing buildings that was used as restaurant, kitchen, staff quarters and guest rooms. The land area of the island is not adequate to develop a resort island. Hence, it was proposed to extend the island and Ministry of Tourism approved the plan to increase the size of the island by 2.29 hectares under the proposed redevelopment. The island area after the reclamation would be 4.83 hectares. Discussions among the proponent, architects and environmental consultants have led to island extension possibilities thereby reducing the amount of fill material required for the extension. One of the main reasons for doing this was to ensure that there is minimal dredging from island‟s lagoon. These alternative designs are considered to be environmentally and economically favourable.
In addition to design alternatives, alternative methods of dredging and filling have been considered so that minimal siltation would take place. The purpose of this is to protect the beautiful house reef from short term damage that may cause irreversible ecological loss. The recommended option considers minimal island extension together to minimise effect on long shore sediment transport and possible eutrophication in certain areas due to island extension. In order to ensure minimal sedimentation, bunds around the reclamation area recommended to be placed around the filling areas.
Environmental impacts were assessed for both the construction and operation phase of the project. Most of the environmental impacts of the project have been identified as resulting mainly from pumping and filling sand for island extension. Similar impact has been identified for the excavation of the inner and outer entrance channels. The second most important environmental impact would be that arising from the construction of water villas, especially the impact on marine environment. For both dredging and water villa construction, the main impact would be that of sedimentation on the nearby reef areas. This impact is considered to be short-term and cumulative, adding to the impacts from snorkelling and dhoni or boat operations. The impact significance is considered to be major (without mitigation) given that the reef flat and slope around the island is quite alive, especially at the proposed development area, more towards the existing island. The impact of the machinery is also considerable given that works would be undertaken in reef flat areas. The socio-economic benefits of the project are quite high and may be considered to outweigh the negative impacts of the project on the physical environment of the island, if adequate measures are taken to protect the environment.
Mitigation measures for the negative impacts have been identified and outlined in detail, especially sedimentation control methods. The proposed mitigation measures will have to be followed in order to minimize environmental damage. The main negative environmental impact of the proposed project would be sedimentation, which may cause death of corals. The coral reef being the main tourism asset needs to be protected. In fact, there is a great economic imperative to protect reefs. Hence, the mitigation measures have been selected with that in mind. For this reason, the proponent finds it easier to accept the proposed mitigation measures and have made commitment to undertake the mitigation measures as proposed in the EIA report.
The proposed project conforms to environmental and tourism legislation and thrives to achieve its objectives in an environmentally acceptable manner for both reclamation and resort development component. Therefore, it appears justified from a technical, social, economic and environmental point of view, to carry out the proposed redevelopment project according to the proposed methodologies including proposed mitigation measures and environmental monitoring programme.|
|Appears in Collections:||ތިމާވެށި |
Items in Saruna are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.