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|Title: ||Environment impact assessment for the proposed nationwide submarine cable by Ooredoo Maldives|
|Authors: ||CDE Consulting|
|Keywords: ||Submarine cable|
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Existing physical environment
Existing beach environment
Existing marine environment
Existing terrestrial environment
Existing socio-economic environment
Environmental management plan
Environmental impact assessments
|Issue Date: ||May-2016|
|Citation: ||CDE Consulting. (2016). Environment impact assessment for the proposed nationwide submarine cable by Ooredoo Maldives. Male': Maldives|
|Abstract: ||This document is submitted by the proponent to the Environmental Protection Agency to fulfil
the requirement for an EIA under the Environmental Protection and Preservation Act (4/93). The
EIA Regulation 2012 has been used as the basis for preparing this document. The proponent of
this project is Ooredoo Maldives. The project involves laying a communication submarine cable
stretching the entire archipelago of Maldives. The estimate length of the cable is 11,000 km, and
is divided into 5 main segments with 6 landings sites.
The main rationale for the project is to increase the capacity, and improve the quality of all
telecommunication services provided by Ooredoo Maldives. The proponent estimates that they
will not be able to cater for the growing demand for telecommunication services in a near future
with the existing system.
In each island a cable ship will lay the submarine cable and it will be passed to the reef flat using
experienced divers and small boats. A concrete stabiliser clamped on reef flat will be used to
pass the cable line from reef flat to a precast concrete trench on the seabed in each island. An
existing trench will be used in B.Eydhafushi and Hulhumale’. Cable line will pass through the
trench to Beach Manhole (BMH). In Gdh, Thinadhoo, geo-bags at beachfront will have to be
cleared to facilitate the transfer of cable to BMH. MTCC has been contracted to clear the geobags
and to build the precast concrete trench in Thinadhoo. Submarine cable will be connected
to a land cable inside BMH and the land cable will then pass through an earth trench to
Connecting Landing Station (CLS) in each island.
The proposed development plans are generally in conformance to the laws and regulations of the
Maldives. The key laws and regulations applicable are: Environmental Protection and
Preservation Act, Maldives Telecommunication Act, Fisheries Act, Environmental Impact
Assessment Regulation 2012, Waste Management Regulation 2013, The Environmental
Liability Regulation, EIA decision note is required before implementation of this project.
The cable landing sites for all the proposed islands are existing Ooredoo Antenna Stations and
does not require the removal of any vegetation from these areas. The cable laying route (on land)
up to the cable landing site in each of the islands follow an existing road or pathway from the
beach with the exception of Hdh.Kulhudhuffushi and S.Hithadhoo.
The reefs flat at all islands are mainly made up of rocky bottom, with low live coral coverage.
Large seagrass patch occurs on the reef flat near shore along the cable route in Kolhufushi. Live
coral abundance is higher mainly near the reef edge of all islands. Highest live coral coverage
was recorded at Thinadhoo, while the lowest was recorded in Kulhudhuffushi.
The most significant negative impacts from this project during construction stage would be, loss
of sessile marine life within the cable route, and the potential health and safety risks to the
workers and general public associated with offshore cable deployment, and excavation works on
The project mainly has positive socio-economic benefits; via improvement in quality and speed
of telecommunication service provided by Ooredoo Maldives across the Maldives.
The key mitigation measures proposed for the construction stage include relocation of live coral
colonies on the reef flat of project sites to nearby locations, and strict measures to minimize
healthy and safety risks to workers and the general public from the project.
Alternative options were evaluated for the activities that are identified to have significant
impacts on the project. Alternative options have been considered for method of excavation on
Main concern of the utility providers and telecommunication service providers in all the islands
is potential damage to their existing infrastructure in the footprint of proposed land cable during
excavation works. Manual excavation has been recommended over the use of an excavator to
reduce the risk of damage to existing cables and pipelines. It has also been recommended to
inform these institutions prior to commencing the earth trenching works.
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 project. The total cost of mitigation and monitoring are estimated
around US$ 4000 annually.
The main conclusion of this report is to move forward with the proposed development after with
the proposed alternatives and the suggested mitigation measures.
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