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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the proposed coastal protection at Dhihdhoo Island, Haa Alifu Atoll, Maldives
Other Titles: First addendum to the environmental impact assessment, for the proposed beaching development at Dhihdhoo Island, Haa Alifu Atoll, Maldives
Authors: Water Solutions
Keywords: Shore protection project
Existing marine environment
Existing socio-economic environment
Existing coastal environment
Existing coral reef environment
Environmental impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental management and monitoring plan
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: Sep-2016
Citation: Water solutions. (2016). Environmental impact assessment for the proposed coastal protection at Dhihdhoo Island, Haa Alifu Atoll, Maldives . Male': Maldives
Abstract: This report discusses the findings of a social and environmental impact study undertaken by Water Solutions Pvt. Ltd. upon request from Ministry of Environment and Energy. The project involves coastal protection works in Dhihdhoo Island, Haa Alifu Atoll. The project aims to:  Protect western side of the island’s shore from erosion, by constructing a revetment along these areas and back filling using sand that is stockpiled in the island.  Sustainably manage and overcome chronic erosion undergoing on the western side of the island. One of the biggest environmental problems facing Dhihdhoo today is the ongoing erosion and lack of shore protection and management measures to combat these. Historical data collected from available sources indicate that the western side has been undergoing erosion and the shoreline has retreated significantly inland. The most critical areas are along the Centre of the western coastline. Below is a summary of the project, and a brief outline of the issues facing Dhihdhoo Island. In summary, the project comprises of the following components;  Construct a 450 metre revetment on the western side. This revetment will begin from the south-west side, starting from where a previous revetment has been constructed.  Construction of the revetment will be undertaken using rock boulders.  Risk of erosion is an important factor that determines the future of development of islands. Projects ranging from housing to more industrial in nature requires adequate safety and guarantee for locals and investors. These investments can be safeguarded with adequate shore protection which will ensure that sustainable land management can be undertaken by local authorities.  Erosion of the western side has caused salinization of the ground water in the households that live close to the coastline. The resulting problems social problems are an everyday thing for the Council as they have to be answerable to the community.  Erosion has caused the loss of vital and large trees on the coastal belt including damage to boats that have been beached for repair and maintenance.  The project will completely destroy the western beach face almost nearly 70%. Access to the lagoon will then be possible only with the use of staircases that can be designed with the revetment.  Environmental impacts of this project was assessed and most of the environmental impacts of the project have been identified as minor. The project proposes to construct a rock revetment along the western side of the island using excavators. The revetment construction process does not foresee any significant environmental impacts during the construction stage.  Sand required for backfilling will be sourced from the available stockpile of sand in the island.  Mitigation measures for the project have been identified mostly as processes and methods to ensure that the coastal protection will be sustained in the long term. They include the use of geotextile under layer, proper slope maintenance and the use of appropriate sized rock boulders. In addition, maintaining the right height have been identified as mitigation measures. In addition, completing the works in the shortest time frame is also an important mitigation factor that will help improve the overall project.  The project is mainly driven by the ongoing difficulties and risks faced due to chronic erosion in Dhihdhoo island. Although the project will completely deprive the western side of the island from a natural beach, this is an essential project to be implemented at this stage to safeguard the livelihoods of many residents and other infrastructure.  During the EIA study data collection, it has been identified that the government and the Island Council has not undertaken proper island wide consultations to obtain community views.  Stakeholder consultations were held with various groups, including the island council and the client in order to incorporate the socio-economic components in the project. Stakeholders, most importantly the island community represented by the Island council was the most significant as they have the maximum knowledge and experience from the daily difficulties faced and issues of the island. On a daily basis, the council receives request / complains from the general public on various issues and these have been incorporated in the report. The Council receives a number of complains from locals especially those living close to the beach areas in Dhihdhoo island about erosion and the threats to their livelihoods.  Although the Island Council was consulted, it appears that this project has not been properly communicated nor consulted with the community.  Due to chronic erosion, the groundwater on the western side houses in close vicinity have completely being salinized. This is a significant social and health issue as groundwater is used for multiple uses from bathing to cleaning and washing among others.  This project anticipates very little negative environmental impacts during the construction stage, but has long term impacts to the environment as it completely alters the natural beach environment in most areas of the western side.
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