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Title: Environmental impact assessment for undertaking sand dredging at Gulhifalhu jetty area, Gulhifalhu, Kaafu Atoll
Authors: Water Solutions
Keywords: Sand dredging
Existing environment
Existing marine environment
Existing coastal environment
Coral reef environment
Environmental impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental management and monitoring plan
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: Oct-2016
Citation: Water solutions. (2016). Environmental impact assessment for undertaking sand dredging at Gulhifalhu jetty area, Gulhifalhu, Kaafu Atoll. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This report discusses the findings of an environmental impact study undertaken by Water Solutions Pvt. Ltd. for Gulhifalhu Investment Ltd. The project involves maintenance dredging of the Gulhifalhu Jetty area. The project aims to:  Deepen the existing jetty basin  Provide safety and protection to the vessels accessing the jetty area  Increase the usable area of the jetty Gulhifalhu is an industrial island which lease land plots for different industrial purposes. Many private vessels travel Gulhifalhu to access their sites every day. There is an existing jetty area in Gulhifalhu that is used by these vessels to access the island to load and unload materials. However, now the jetty basin is very shallow due to accumulation of sand in the basin. Some areas of the basin are less than a meter deep making it impossible to moor vessels to jetty. This project aims to dredge this area to provide a safe basin and larger accessible area. Approximate total of 9000 cbm of sand will be dreged from this area. This sand will be stockpiled temporarily in Gulhifalhu and then will be transported to Thilafushi MRDC site for later use. Environmental impacts of this project were assessed and have been identified as resulting from the dredging works. Dredging work will be undertaken using excavators and sand pumps and this is particularly a method that creates lot of sedimentation which is a big threat to the marine environment. Mitigation measures for the negative impacts have been identified and outlined in the report. Completing the dredging works in the shortest time frame and in low tide hours is a significant mitigation measure to minimize the impact of sedimentation on the marine environment. In addition, dredging should be avoided in bad weather conditions. The proposed mitigation measures will have to be followed in order to minimize environmental damage. The measures proposed to minimize or mitigate environmental impacts may be considered to be appropriate, thereby minimizing the impact by about 90%. The main negative environmental impact of the proposed project would be sedimentation and destruction of the lagoon and damage to some areas of the nearby reefs, which will cause partial death of corals in other areas of the coral reef. During dredging works, the sedimentation will also affect the fish species in the vicinity of these areas and hence, their population will drop in areas affected by sedimentation. It is inevitable that there would be negative environmental impacts of this project. As a result, a mitigation and monitoring component has been suggested which takes into consideration, the most important elements that require monitoring, most importantly a mechanism and means to measure and value the social benefit of the project. This monitoring component will be adhered and will allow the assessment of long term changes, despite the potential negative impacts. The dredging of Gulhifalhu jetty area does pose some threats to the marine environment of the area. There will be direct and indirect damage to marine environment in the vicinity of the project site. However there are many positive benefits of the project in long term. This project is justifiable in the light of the positive impacts.
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