|Abstract: ||The purpose of this document is to fulfil the requirements to get necessary environmental
clearance from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement the proposed guest
house development project in Huraa Island, Male’ Atoll. The proposed site is the northern end or
Thundi area of the Huraa Island. The proponent acquired the right to develop the guest house
after in open bidding initiated by the Huraa Island Council. The proponent of this project is Pearl
Sands of Maldives Pvt Ltd, which was registered specifically to develop the guesthouse business
The main rationale for the project is to develop guesthouse tourism in the Maldives to increase
the tourism bed capacity and their contribution to the local and national economic growth. The
purpose of the project from the Council’s perspective is to increase the revenue of the Council
and to provide direct benefits of tourism to the community. The island currently has a number of
guest houses but servicing mainly locals.
The project broadly involves the development and operation of 25 room guest house. The
proposed project covers four main components: construction of guest rooms; construction of
guest facilities; seagrass removal, and beach replenishment, and; guesthouse operations. The
project is estimated to take 12 months to complete.
All project designs are 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: Environmental Protection and Preservation Act, Decentralization Act, Tourism
Act, Guesthouse regulations, Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation 2012, Waste
Management Regulation, Regulation on Cutting Down and Uprooting Trees and Dewatering
Regulation. Approvals have been granted for the concept by the Ministry of Tourism. Further
approvals are required before construction and operations.
The project is being undertaken in an inhabited island which has a heavily modified
Environment. The island has undergone land reclamation, shore protection, vegetation removal
and habour construction, among other modifications. The settlement occupies more than 60% of
the island and settlement areas are generally devoid of continuous vegetation cover. There is a
wetland environment on the island, which is considered the only such environment in the region.
However, this site is not in the best of conditions, with signs of waste and reclamation around it.
The proposed site has not been used for settlement but the areas have a highly modified
vegetation system. Much of the project footprint comprises of coconut palms. The undergrowth
in much of the area has been long removed and the palms appear to be planted by the locals.
There is as Cadet Corp training camp within the vicinity of the project site.
The biggest challenges from the natural environment are current erosion, lack of beach and
seagrass overgrowth. The beach areas close to the proposed site are in poor condition with most
areas lacking any beach and with severe erosion. There is sand pit which is a preferred picnic
area for the locals. The immediate lagoon is covered with seagrass and will need to be removed
to make the lagoon useable for swimming and other guest activities.
The negative impacts from this project are typical impacts associated with tourism facilities
development in Maldives, but with a much reduced scale. The most significant impact from this
project during construction stage would be the loss of live coral colonies due to dredging and
reclamation, removal of vegetation, excavation and dewatering, changes to coastal processes due
to coastal developments, degradation of the terrestrial and marine environment due to the worker
activities and disposal of waste. Main social impacts include potential conflicts with the public if
equal job opportunity is not available for construction stage or operations stage of the property
and social conflicts associated with sharing of utilities, beach areas and lagoon.
The main anticipated negative impact during operations stage is the impacts on the beach due
significant erosion and accretion patterns and social impacts associated with the above
mentioned potential conflicts.
The project mainly has positive socio-economic benefits, including increased direct and indirect
job opportunities, growth of small businesses, growth in transport sector and improvement in
transport to the island.
Key mitigation measures for the construction stage include finding options to mitigate severe
erosion on the island. A number of mitigation measures have been proposed in this assessment to
mitigate the most significant impacts associated with the development, worker activities,
vegetation removal, seagrass removal and beach replenishment.
Alternatives options were evaluated for the activities that are identified to have significant
impacts on or from the project. These include the options for erosion mitigation and seagrass
removal. Alternative options have been proposed mitigate erosion and preference has been given
to construct groynes on the NW corner. Alternative options assessment for seagrass removal was
assessed but the currently proposed option to use excavators on sand beds was preferred.
The Island Council, public and the nearest two resort islands were consulted on the project and
all stakeholders have strong support to implement this project. The resorts have some
reservations with some components of the project.
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
Monitoring plan is designed to assess any changes to the physical environment as well as
operational aspects of the guesthouse. The total cost of mitigation and monitoring are estimated
between US$5,000 per year.
The main conclusion of this report is to move forward with the proposed development after with
the proposed alternatives and the suggested mitigation measures.|