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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the proposed coconut palm relocation project in Maalhos, Baa Atoll
Authors: CDE Consulting
Keywords: Coconut palm relocation project
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Existing physical environment
Existing biological environment
Existing socio-economic environment
Environmental impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental management plan
Environmental monitoring plan
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: Jan-2016
Citation: CDE Consulting. (2016). Environmental impact assessment for the proposed coconut palm relocation project in Maalhos, Baa Atoll. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is an evaluation of the potential environmental, socio-economic and natural impacts of the proposed coconut palm relocation from Maalhos to Dhigufaru Resort of Baa Atoll. Dhigufaru is a resort under construction and is scheduled to open this year. The proponent of this project is Dhigufaru Investments Pvt Ltd, and they are in the final stages of landscaping. Maalhos Island contacted the proponent to assist in clearing the land for a futsal pitch. Given that the Dhigufaru Island is looking to rejuvenate its vegetation, the proponent has contracted construction companies specializing in tree transplantation to clear the requested land and supply coconut palms required for Dhigufaru Island landscaping. The proponent has sought permission from the island council to relocate 250 palm trees to Dhigufaru Island. The proponent considered the project given the close proximity of Maalhos and the opportunity to provide service to the community. The project is aimed for the clearance of approximately 16,500 ft2 of land for the development of a futsal pitch. Major components of the project include, site preparation and mobilization, vegetation clearance, transportation to Dhigufaru, replanting, dredging the North-western side lagoon to obtain backfilling sand and levelling the site after backfilling. The project is scheduled to be completed within five to six weeks of initiation while all components at Maalhos is to be completed within four weeks. The following Laws and Regulations of Maldives and International Conventions will be strictly adhered during the implementation of the project. The key laws and regulations of the Maldives to which the proposal is applicable are: − Environmental Protection Act, − Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations 2012, − Regulation on Cutting Down, Uprooting, Digging Out and Export of Trees and Palms from One Island to Another − Dredging and Reclamation regulation − Regulation on preservation of old trees − Other relevant international and national conventions ‘No project’ option is evaluated for advantages and disadvantages. Alternative project site (island) is not considered as this cannot be changed. In addition, an alternative tree felling method has been assessed. The potential significant impacts from the project on the natural environment are: − Groundwater and marine water contamination due to chemical (vehicle fluids) leak and from dredging process. − Pollution due to waste including green waste − Marine water pollution during transportation of materials and removal of waste − Impact on marine life due to dredging activities − Changes to island coastal environment due to creation of sediment sink Potential positive socioeconomic impacts are: − Paves way for further development with new recreational facilities − Dhigufaru Island could be completed and open for business at earliest creating job opportunities for locals − Guest satisfaction improved Monitoring program is based on the information requirements of the project. The key areas highlighted in the program are: − Groundwater quality and Marine water quality for indication of contamination by chemicals and/or dredging − Management of waste in particular hazardous waste and inappropriate disposal − Coastal changes and depth of the dredge area − Maintaining logs to monitor replanting quantities and targets are met. The proponent is committed to undertake the monitoring programme. The project poses some negative environmental impacts. However with proper caution and implementation of the given mitigation measures the project could offset the negative impacts and could be implemented smoothly. Overall, the project aims to reuse vegetation to rejuvenate the vegetation system in Dhigufaruvinagandu, which would be given utmost care due to their value for the resort island. These are trees that may otherwise be discarded. In conclusion, project mainly has beneficial impacts to both the locals of Baa Maalhos and the management of Dhigufaru Resort.
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