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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the proposed reclamation of eastern side of a Dh. Fenfushi
Authors: Maldives Energy and Environmental Company
Keywords: Land reclamation
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Existing physical environment
Existing marine environment
Existing terrestrial environment
Existing socio-economic environment
Environmental impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental monitoring
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: Apr-2016
Citation: Maldives Energy and Environmental Company. (2016). Environmental impact assessment for the proposed reclamation of eastern side of a Dh. Fenfushi. Male': Maldives
Abstract: 1. This report provides the finding of an environmental impact assessment conducted for a proposed reclamation project in A Dh. Fenfushi, initiated by Fenfushi island council in accordance with the Environmental Act and EIA Regulations 2012. The report was compiled by Maldives Environment and Energy Company (MEECO) to fulfil the requirements of law. The main objective of the project is to create space to establish developmental infrastructures that have been planned, which include providing the necessary recreational facilities to the island population. 2. Fenfushi is situated at the southern tip of A Dh. Atoll and has a land area of 218,422 m2. The island is situated close to a resort and an uninhabited island which has been leased to the resort. Surveys show that eastern side of the island is populated while the western side largely remains natural. The island has a population of 1,000. Most of the people from the island are employed in the tourism sector. Since the majority of the island consists of young adults, the need for public recreational facilities are great. However, the island does not have enough recreational facilities such as football fields. The only football field on the island is next to a cemetery. Sightings of human remains lead to the field being abandoned. The project was devised to address the needs of islands main population group which comprises of young adults who require recreational facilities. The current football field is situated next to the island cemetery and part of the field is on top of the cemetery few inches above burial sites. This has created a sense of fear amongst its users as playing on top of burial sites is emotionally stressing and on religious terms unacceptable. In order to address the issue, the council had initially designed to construct a football field and net ball court within the current footprint of the island, however lack of space available in the island specially populated side (eastern) of the island prompted the council to devise and propose reclamation of eastern side of the island to solve the developmental and space issues faced by the island. 3. The proposed project will involve reclamation of of 39,314 m2 from the eastern lagoon of the island. Field surveys indicated 28,477m3 sand will be required as fill to reclaim up to +1.4 m MSL. The study also revealed that the required fill material can be obtained by dredging the current harbour basin. Three zones have been distinguished within the harbour basin which can be used to obtain the dredge material. When combined, the three zones have enough fill material to reclaim the proposed area in the lagoon. 4. Sedimentation resulting from dredging and reclamation was identified to be the main environmental impact arising from the project. However, due to the existing quay wall on the southern side of the reclamation area which would act as a sediment barrier, distance of house reef from reclamation area, its depth, and hydrographical conditions observed at the site and based on expert opinion from MWSRP, sedimentation resulting from the proposed project is not envisaged to have any negative impacts on marine protected area located in A Dh. Atoll. It is recommended to install bunds as specified in the report to enclose area before reclamation further mitigate sediment transportation. 5. The report also assessed alternative materials, methods and locations. The comparison of alternative reclamation areas through comparative option analysis of three locations (East, South and West) suggested that the proposed location was most feasible. It was close to the populated areas of the island where infrastructure for electricity exists and the groyne installed at the site would act as a sediment barrier that would mitigate sediment transportation. 6. No irreversible major negative impacts to the environment have been identified due to the proposed project. Impact assessments done for the construction phase (reclamation) and operational phase of the project resulted in minor/moderate temporary negative impacts. Appropriate and practical mitigation measures have been identified and included in this report to address these negative impacts. These include monitoring water quality at set locations to assess extent of sedimentation. Constructing sand bunds surrounding the reclamation area to contain sedimentation due to reclamation. Significant positive impacts were identified for the implementation phase of the project. The project is expected to significantly contribute to social and developmental aspect of the island. Most importantly create land space for recreational activities of the island. 7. The Proponent of the project, Fenfushi Island Council guarantees their commitment to undertake the necessary mitigation measures and monitoring during all stages of the project that has been proposed in the report. The project complies to national development polices of the government and is planned to be executed in compliance with the relevant laws and regulations of the Maldives relevant to conservation of the environment if implemented in accordance with the report. 8. In conclusion, the EIA has looked into the key factors that shall be taken into account during construction and operational stage of the project. Even though this project does have significant environmental impacts to the immediate marine environment, with appropriate measures, minor negative impacts envisaged can be further mitigated. Given that the Proponent has committed to the mitigation actions it is anticipated that the project can be implemented with minimum negative residual environmental and socio-economic impacts.
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