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Title: Environmental impact assessment for proposed coastal protection works in AA. Ukulhas Island
Authors: Zuhair, Mohamed
Shakir, Ibrahim
Keywords: Study area
Project description
Legal policy and administrative framework
Existing environment
Environmental impacts
Mitigation measures
Stakeholder consultations
Issue Date: Oct-2015
Citation: Zuhair, M. & Shakir, I. (2015). Environmental impact assessment for proposed coastal protection works in AA. Ukulhas Island. Male': Maldives
Abstract: The Project is proposed by Ministry of Environment and Energy for undertaking coastal protection measures on the northern shoreline of AA. Ukulhas Island. The focus of the project is to protect the northern side of AA. Ukulhas Island as the area is currently undergoing serious beach erosion, which is currently reaching up to island infrastructures. In order to protect the area, the Ministry of Environment and Energy proposes to undertake beach replenishment of a 6,600sqm area on the north and design and construct a 280m long rock boulder revetment along the replenished shoreline. The project has been awarded to Sas e Senok JV Pvt. Ltd. on design and built basis. As the contractor for the project, Sas e Senok JV Pvt. Ltd. has undertaken the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report to be submitted to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for approval. This EIA is prepared as per the Terms of Reference (TOR) approved by Environment Protection Agency (EPA) on 23 September 2015. The scope of this EIA is to assess the existing environmental condition of Ukulhas Island and surrounding environment, identify potential environmental impacts, propose environmental management and mitigation measures to minimize environmental impacts as well as propose an environmental monitoring plan with appropriate environmental parameters to monitor changes on a regular basis. Ukulhas Island is located at 4°12'56.35"N and 72°51'49.13"E in a single reef found on the NE corner of North Ari Atoll. Both the island and reef is elliptical in shape and has a SE and NW orientation. The length and width of the island are approximately 1000m and 215m respectively. The area of the island is estimated to be 22ha. Main environmental impacts from the proposed project will be from sedimentation including water quality deterioration, reef damage as well as direct destruction of lagoon habitats within the project boundary. Although, these impacts are inevitable, it is effects can be reduced by implementing various environmental management and mitigation measures such as undertaking sand pumping and beach nourishment operations coinciding with low tide and on calm days as well as undertaking the operations in the quickest possible timeframe to reduce impact exposure period. During the operation of the resort, solid waste and wastewater disposal as well as certain tourist activities is believed to generate the most significant environmental impacts especially on the marine environment where the impacts may range from marine pollution, water quality deterioration, potential health risks, destruction of marine habitats as well as aesthetic and cumulative impacts. The project is believed to generate a number of beneficial impacts. These include protection of a critical island environment, protection of school and waste management center. With regards to mitigating and reducing significant environmental impacts from the project, the following measures including use physical barriers such as earthen berms, sand beds and rock boundaries to close reclamation areas, undertake the activities in shortest possible time and on calm days at low tides, reclamation to be undertaken in sections within the boundary, directing sedimentation into the deep lagoon area and number of other measures have been proposed. Although during construction of the project, significant environmental impacts from dredging and land reclamation activities as a result of sedimentation and direct destruction of habitats have been envisaged, with appropriate environmental management and mitigation measures, these impacts will be reduced to a considerable level. Also, with positive social outlook of the project and considering the overall need for the project, it is concluded that the project should go ahead as planned.
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