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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the proposed 14 storey building construction in G. Hudhukoka, Male’
Authors: Musthafa, Amir
Keywords: Building construction
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Existing environment
Environmental impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental monitoring
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: Dec-2013
Citation: Musthafa, A. (2013). Environmental impact assessment for the proposed 14 storey building construction in G. Hudhukoka, Male’. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This report is based on the proposed 14 storey building construction at the residence, G. Hudhukoka in the capital city, Male’. The owners of the land have appointed Zonal Construction Pvt. Ltd. to undertake the construction works and project management including overseeing the EIA process. An Environmental Impact Assessment was necessary for the works outlined in this report as they fall under ‘Jadhuvalu R’ of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations 2012 of the Maldives. In addition to meeting the regulatory requirements, the report would further assist the proponent and important stakeholders to make decisions based on favourable environmental conditions with the main focus on sustainability. The project also adheres to several other rules and regulations in the Maldives and has obtained permit from the Male’ city council for the project to proceed. The area the project is proposed to be undertaken is a heavily built area in the heart of Male’. There is no natural terrestrial environment at site, with virtually no vegetation to be seen. The existing environment therefore was focussed on the regional climate of Male’, and the traffic distribution, and noise pollution in the area. As could be seen from the data, this area could possibly be the busiest and most populated shopping area in Male’ at any given time. Due to the congested nature of the area, the existing condition of buildings nearby was important to be investigated. It was found that most of the buildings in the area were quite old and prone to vibration impacts. However, serious structural defects were at a minimum. The overall environmental impacts of the project have been assessed using frameworks found on literature. Since the development is undertaken in a heavily built area, the results indicate that the proposed project has neutral impact. However, there are some significant impacts on the environment during the construction phase of the project and these needs to be mitigated to avoid any significant damage to the environment. Significance of the impacts and mitigation measures has been provided based on previous similar projects undertaken in the Maldivian environment and based on literature. The main cause for concern regarding this project is the impact it will have on neighbours residing in this area. As such, several short-term impacts are envisaged including air pollution, noise pollution, aesthetic impacts, and safety concerns. The major longer-term impact is the effect the construction may have on neighbouring structures. These impacts can however be easily mitigated to minimise and/or completely nullify them. The first mitigation measure proposed includes creating awareness among the construction staff and neighbours regarding the scope of the project. Other measures include taking protective measures to ensure people residing and utilising the vicinity will not have to endure the impacts during the construction stage. Foundation protection measures are recommended to prevent impact on neighbouring structures, and also dewatering procedure needs to be undertaken with care, details of which are given in the report. Alternatives, including the no project option and alternatives for some project components are also discussed. Regarding project design, a few alternatives are recommended such as changing the design of balcony railings for safety reasons, provide a green area at the terrace, while the pros and cons of making a parking area, or a mini mall in the building is also discussed. An environmental monitoring program is provided at the end of the report, which provides details on the parameters to monitor on site, and the frequency in which it needs to be done. Estimated costs for the monitoring works are given. Implementation of the program is essential for the sustainable development of the project. In conclusion, it is discussed the impact such major housing projects have for the increasing population density in Male’, and how it can be prevented at a policy level. However, taking this project as a standalone development project in an already heavily built area, it can be concluded that no significant long-term impacts are predicted. Therefore, it is recommended that the project go ahead as proposed with few minor changes.
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