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Title: Environmental impact assessment for land reclamation at Thinadhoo, G.Dh Atoll, Maldives
Authors: Maldives Energy and Environmental Company
Keywords: Description of the project
Regulatory considerations
Survey methods
Existing environment
Natural hazard and vulnerability
Socio-economic condition of Thinadhoo
Stakeholder consultation
Assessing the likely impacts and mitigation measures
Environmental monitoring
Issue Date: Dec-2015
Citation: Maldives Energy and Environmental Company. (2015). Environmental impact assessment for land reclamation at Thinadhoo, G.Dh Atoll, Maldives. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This report provides the finding of an environmental impact assessment conducted for the reclamation of 56 hectares on the north and south of Thinadhoo to facilitate much needed additional land for the residents of the island. The project is proposed by Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure. According to EIA Regulations 2012, an Environmental Impact Assessment is required for reclamation and dredging projects. Thinadhoo is a highly urbanized settlement and the settlement footprint covers 90% of the total habitable land area. As a result almost all land available is currently being used for housing, economic establishments and socio- economic infrastructure on the island and the island is land-locked. Hence, there is an urgent and immediate need for land reclamation in Thinadhoo. It is estimated that approximately 1.5 million cubic metres of borrow materials would be needed to reclaim 56 hectares of land in Thinadhoo. The proposed locations for the sand borrow areas are within intra-atoll basin of Gdh. Atoll. Alternatives have been identified in the project document. These include alternatives for the dredge areas, dredge method and alternative reclaimed areas. In addition, a coastal protection of the 80% of the reclaimed land (approximately 1852 m) would be put in place. Environmental impacts were identified and assessed for both the reclamation (construction) phase and operational phase of the project. Most of the environmental impacts of the project have been identified as positive resulting mainly from improved socio-economic conditions, increased economic activities in Gdh. Atoll as a whole, direct and indirect employment opportunities, and increased business opportunities. The main negative environmental impact of the project is identified to be the changes in hydrodynamics and sedimentation. Moreover, a significant impact would be felt on the marine environment in the northern part where an inevitable habitat loss would occur. The impacts of the project would be felt on the marine ecosystem of Thinadhoo and mitigation measures have been proposed to reduce sedimentation and other adverse impacts that would arise from the project. Mitigation measures such as, proper timing of dredging and reclamation, management of traffic, proper use of bund walls or silt screens have been proposed. If not properly managed, there could be cumulative impacts due to sedimentation which is already experienced in the nearby reef systems. These include provision of bunds and control of dredge water flow in to the marine environment. These methods have been discussed in detail in the report. The main mitigation measure for the proposed project would be the provision of shore protection for the newly reclaimed areas. The Proponent, Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure is committed to undertake monitoring during all stages of the project. The activities proposed in the project comply with the environmental laws of the Maldives, its rules and regulations. In conclusion, this EIA has looked into the key factors that needed to be looked in to during construction and operational stage. In my opinion, even though this project does have significant environmental impacts to the marine environment, the significant positive impacts that would arise from the reclamation to an atoll that lacks many natural resources for other economic gain, the additional land would provide such as asset for the wellbeing of the population and residents of the island/atoll.
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