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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the proposed police academy development project, Addu City, Maldives
Authors: Sandcays
Keywords: Development projects
Building construction
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Existing environment
Existing socio-economic conditions
Constructional impacts
Operational impacts
Environmental monitoring
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: Sep-2016
Citation: Sandcays. (2016). Environmental impact assessment for the proposed police academy development project, Addu City, Maldives. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This report provides the finding of an Environmental Impact Assessment carried out for the proposed Police Academy in Addu City. The project is proposed by Maldives Police Service. The proposed project involves the development of a Police Academy/Institute for Security and Law Enforcement in Addu City. An 83,680m2 area in Rujjehere on the south of Hithadhoo Regional Port has been allocated for the proposed development. This includes a 35,000m2 area proposed to be reclaimed since the area is narrow and does not provide sufficient space. The reclamation is on the shallow reef flat on the west of the plot facing the rim reef of Addu Atoll. The reclamation will be undertaken by borrowing sand from the lagoon on the western side where the lagoon depth is about 1.5 to 2m on average. A 15 to 20m wide channel will be dredged for dredger entry and for use as entrance channel by vessels used by the proposed Police Academy. The area (approximately 46,000m2) will be dredged to a depth of no more than 4m from MSL. The dredged sand will be directly pumped to the site, as recommended by relevant stakeholders. The proposed project will have several support facilities including power, water, sewerage, jetty, staff, students and visitor accommodation and storage facilities developed on the project site since the area is remotely located away from Hithadhoo. These will be established on the project site during the construction phase. Under the project, the building footprint areas would be cleared of vegetation and the coconut palms and some trees removed from the cleared areas would be transplanted in the reclaimed area. The bush areas in proposed building sites has already been cleared. An area is designated for waste management and waste will be collected, managed and sent to landfill according to the requirements of the Waste Regulation. A 10-ton desalination plant will be installed initially until water supply is made available to the project area by the service provider, FENAKA. This plant will become a back-up plant once FENAKA provides the services. The sewerage system established at the project site will comprise of a gravity system that will collect sewage and wastewater from all areas into an 85kl/day treatment plant and a pumping station from where treated wastewater effluent will be disposed of at the eastern reef by an ocean outfall. The powerhouse at the facility will cater for the energy needs of the facility. A 500kVA genset will be installed to meet the needs. Fuel for powerhouse and other requirements such as vehicles will be stored in underground tanks at site. The fuel system will be developed according to the requirements of the Fuel Regulations enforced by the Maldives National Defense Force. The baseline environmental conditions were assessed using standard methods. The project areas including clearance areas and dredge and fill areas have been studied. In addition, the project site’s vegetation, vegetation line and shorelines have been mapped. It has been estimated from the vegetation surveys that a total of 88 coconut palms and 33 other mature trees would need to be cleared, but some of it can be preserved if the buildings are appropriately designed/setout. The proposed jetty area has adequate depths for jetty installation and leads to the proposed borrow area, which will be used for mooring vessels. Environmental impacts were identified and assessed for both construction phase and operational phase of the project. Some of the environmental impacts of the project have been identified as positive resulting mainly from improved security and law enforcement services in the country, increased economic activities in Addu City, direct and indirect employment opportunities, and increased business opportunities. The main negative environmental impacts of the project are identified to be the changes to the terrestrial ecosystem from clearance of vegetation, impacts on longshore sediment transport on the western side due to reclamation and shore protection and impact on the marine environment from dredging and jetty installation works. Given the large degree of impacts on longshore transport due to the projecting reclamation area with the long jetty at the Hithadhoo Regional Port, the proposed jetty would not have impacts on longshore sediment transport. However, it shall be designed for minimal impact. Since the dredge area proposed with the EIA application was at over 300m from the shore, the dredge area has been later revised to suit a shorter jetty while minimizing on a wider borrow area. The jetty has been kept at about 100m so that the dredged basin is at necessary distance from beach as recommended in the Dredging and Reclamation Regulation. As an important mitigation measure to minimize sedimentation during filling, it is recommended to enclose the fill areas with jumbo bags or the rock boulder revetment prior to filling the area or as filling progresses. Other mitigation measures for the proposed project would be that clearance take place only where necessary and coconut palms are transplanted on the reclaimed area and other available spaces. It is also required to plant two trees for every mature tree or coconut tree cut down. Septic tank systems have been proposed for disposing human waste during the construction phase and pose no long-term negative environmental impact considering the small number of people expected to be based on the site. These will be decommissioned once the sewerage system is built and operational. The activities proposed in the project comply with environmental laws and regulations of the Maldives. These have been outlined in the report. Alternatives have been identified in the project document. These include alternative reclamation location on the eastern side, thereby minimizing largely on the shore protection on the western side and providing more space at less overall cost of dredging, reclamation and shore protection. This alternative is recommended, however, shall be considered in light of potential issues. The other option is to modify the shape of the proposed fill area so as to minimize any negative impact on longshore sediment transport. Also, changes to the fill area shape based on recommendations of EPA during the Scoping Meeting, changes to reclamation area and filling methodologies based on suggestions from stakeholders. The “nodevelopment” option was also analyzed in light of alternative uses of the project site, no reclamation option and other potential options for the development of the proposed facility. Considering the other potential alternative uses of the area, the closeness to the port does not make it most-suited for tourism development or other recreational development. The area is also quite narrow for residential development but may be more suited for industrial developments. The proposed project has several merits in terms of location and suitability, therefore, the no project option may not be as favourable as the proposed option. Alternatives to water supply, wastewater disposal and electricity have also been considered. The use of groundwater for water supply such as flushing may be appropriate if water skimming technologies or infiltration galleries can be introduced. Wastewater treatment would have negative impacts for the proposed project in terms of use of fuel-based electricity for the treatment process. Therefore, the proposed disposal to sea/ocean is considered appropriate for such a small scale operation. Alternative sources of power have also been looked at and recommend the use of solar (photo-voltaic) technology to the greatest possible extent. It is inevitable that there would be some negative environmental impacts. However, most of the impacts of the proposed project are minor compared to the positive socio-economic benefits of the project. Yet, monitoring for about 3 years from the end of construction phase to ensure the effectiveness of the proposed project would be necessary. Therefore, a monitoring component has been suggested. This monitoring component will be adhered to and will allow the assessment of changes due to construction and implementation of the proposed project. Monitoring is specifically focussed on ground and marine water quality, changes to coastal hydrodynamics, as well as impacts on the reef or marine ecological area of importance. Project performance indices can be added too. In conclusion, it appears justified from a technical and environmental point of view, to carry out the proposed project to develop the proposed Police Academy in Addu City. The recommended alternatives may be considered in the light of improving environmental performance of the proposed project.
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