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Title: Environmental impact assessment for development of a city hotel at Hanimaadhoo, H.Dh. Atoll
Authors: Riyaz, Mahmood
Zuhair, Mohamed
Keywords: City hotel construction
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Existing environment
Terrestrial environment
Marine environment
Socio-economic environment
Constructional impacts
Operational impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental monitoring
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: May-2014
Citation: Riyaz, M. & Zuhair, M. (2014). Environmental impact assessment for development of a city hotel at Hanimaadhoo, H.Dh. Atoll. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This is the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report carried out for Island Expert Pvt. Ltd to develop and operate a three star City Hotel on the north western part of Hanimaadhoo Island located in North East of H.Dh Atoll. The proposed project includes development of 41 guest rooms and necessary infrastructure to establish and operate the city hotel. The EIA was prepared as fulfilment of the requirement by the Ministry Tourism (MoT) for granting permission for the project. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of development projects is a requirement by the Environmental Protection and Preservation Act (EPPA) (law 4/93) of the Government of the Republic of Maldives. The total cost of the proposed project is approximately 6 million USD. The project will be developed within 18 months. The project will create a relatively large number of direct and indirect employment opportunities throughout for the people of Hanimaadhoo Island and particularly to the islands on the northern part of the Maldives. Therefore the project will significantly contribute to the economic growth, particularly tourism sector, and other relevant socio-economic activities This report has been prepared in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations published by the Ministry of Environment and Energy 2012 and covers both negative and positive environmental and socio-economic impact arising from the proposed project in Hanimaadhoo Island. This report also presents an assessment of the ongoing work at the land plot allocated for Hanimaadhoo city hotel development following a report by Hanimaadhoo council during the EIA scoping meeting that the developer has already started construction and site clearance work prior to EIA approval. Major findings of this report are based on information gathered during the field inspection of both the existing environment and possible effects of the project activities, through extensive literature review and experiences gained from similar projects elsewhere in the Maldives. The proposed project activity will take place on the north western part of Hanimaadhoo Island. The island of Hanimaadhoo is a North-south oriented island located at the Eastern rim of H.Dh Atoll. The reef system hosting Hanimaadhoo Island is an elongated shape reef, which has a length of 6.9 km and width of 1.6km. The reef flat is wider at the western side and the island occupies the eastern half of the reef. The island of Hanimaadhoo is an inhabited island with a population of 1200 people is approximately 6.5km long and 40-700m wide and the with increases towards north. Hanimaadhoo is located at latitude 6.7536o and longitude 73.1737o in North H.Dh Atoll (Figure 1). It is approximately 288 km from the capital Male’. H.Dh Hanimaadhoo is a fairly big island having approximately 155ha with thick vegetation mostly consisting of coconut palms and woody trees. The southern part of the island has been developed as a domestic airport, which was recently converted to an International Airport. Almost 50% of the land area on the southern parts occupies airport territories, hence, vegetation clearance and alteration was greatly seen. The settlement of the island is found on the mid-northern parts and is mainly concentrated on the western areas and extending towards north. Main vegetation within the area allocated for city hotel development is fairly intact with coconut palms, funa, dhigaa, hirundhu and small amounts of nika and dhonkeyo as the main cover within the area, which makes up over 50% of the vegetation cover. Most of the vegetation found on the site is fairly young with magoo, uni as well as funa, hirundhu and dhigga. The cover of young vegetation found on the site exceeds 20%. Other types of vegetation that are sparsely distributed on the site include kaani, boashi, kashikeyo, dhonkeyo, and midhili are found in a very small content. It was observed that the vegetation of the site has been greatly altered or to a great extent used by the local communities probably for collection of fire wood, wood and timber as well as for undertaking agriculture in small areas. The reef on the NW side of Hanimaadhoo is characterized by a large reef flat having approximately 50-70m in the width and a very large lagoon having approximately 290-310m in the width. The average depth of the reef flat is about 1m and the lagoon is about 1.5m. The reef crest is found at a depth of about 2-2.5m. The reef slope is observed to be slanted with the upper portion having the most live coral, while the lower portion (below 10-15m) are mostly covered with dead corals, sand and aged rocks. The live coral cover was generally low except for the upper reef slope where the live coral percentage estimated was 12%. The reef flat and the reef crest had 4% and 6% live coral cover respectively. Based on the ground water analysis ground water of Hanimaadhoo city hotel development site is safe to use for all purposes. At present drinking water is transported from Kulhudhuffushi and supplemented by the rainwater catchments. During the preparation of the EIA report an impact matrix, which is a standard tool for identifying the possible impacts of project activities, has been created for proposed development project in Hanimaadhoo Island. The activities carried out during the construction and post-construction or operational phases are arrayed against a selection of environmental factors that may be affected directly or indirectly as a result of project activities. The report has identified and described in detail possible change that would occur to the existing condition of the environment caused during the construction phase and have suggested appropriate mitigation measures for each and every impact identified in the report. Vegetation clearance has been identified as the most significant negative environmental impact that could be associated with the vegetation clearance. Liquid, solid and other forms of wastes and particularly hazardous waste generated during the construction and operational phase has also been identified as significant impact associated with the project and appropriate mitigation measures are suggested for each and every waste related impact identified in the study. The study has evaluated alternative options for some components of the project and has suggested some modifications for city hotel layout and landscaping. Also the report found, based on the similar project activities elsewhere in the Maldives, the island and the reef will recover from the expected impacts rapidly and will re-establish a new ecological balance soon. However the report has come-up with an extensive monitoring programme that will keep on monitoring the environmental changes associated with the development and make necessary adjustment to the activities of the project based on the findings of various measured environmental parameters suggested in the monitoring plan. The report has identified the following beneficial effects form city hotel development in Hanimaadhoo:  Increased direct employment and training opportunities;  Improvements in environmental quality of the island;  Stimulation of local economy, cultivation and small business opportunities within the nearby island communities; and  Increased government revenue and increased GDP. The report found no evidence that the city hotel development in Hanimaadhoo requires or involves any of the following environmental or socio-economic impacts.  loss of unique habitat or wilderness areas;  resettling of local communities;  removing or destroying cultural properties;  contravening national government of the Republic of Maldives, or island community policies, regulations, criteria, customs or aspirations concerning environment, economy, employment, cultural traditions or life styles. On the basis this environmental impact assessment study and the impact mitigation measures proposed in the report will be duly implemented and recommendations are given due consideration, it is concluded that the benefits of the planned city hotel development in Hanimaadhoo Island will substantially outweigh its imposition on the environment.
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