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|Title: ||Environmental impact assessment proposed beach and swimming area development Himmafushi Island, Male’ Atoll|
|Authors: ||Zuhair, Mohamed|
|Keywords: ||Beach development|
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Existing geophysical environment
Existing climatic environment
Existing coastal environment
Existing marine environment
Existing socio-economic environment
Environmental impact assessments
|Issue Date: ||Jun-2016|
|Citation: ||Zuhair, M. & Shakir, I. (2016). Environmental impact assessment proposed beach and swimming area development Himmafushi Island, Male’ Atoll. Male': Maldives|
|Abstract: ||The Secretariat of the Himmafushi Council (Himmafushi Island Council), Male’ Atoll
proposes to develop a beach having 220m on the northern side of the island and a swimming
are within the lagoon on the northern side. The swimming are will be developed after
removing seagrass found within the lagoon from an area having 1,300sqm. It is expected that
a total of 3,252cbm of material will be obtained from the removal of seagrass. The seagrass
content will be removed before the material will be used on the proposed beach. The
proposed beach will be developed having an average width of 10m and a height of 1.4m
Two methods of material excavation will be used during the project implementation. Initially
removal of seagrass will be undertaken by use of excavator and sand from the area will be
obtained by using a sand pump.
Under the Maldives Environmental Protection and Preservation Act (Law No. 4/93) and EIA
Regulation 2012, the proposed beach and swimming area development project requires an
EIA to be carried out. The report presents major findings of the EIA report.
This EIA is prepared as per the Terms of Reference (TOR) approved by Environment
Protection Agency (EPA) on 20 March 2016.
Baseline environmental condition of the proposed project site as well as socio-economic
environment was conducted for which the environmental impacts and mitigation measures as
well as project alternatives are presented. It was found that there is a great need from the
community for developing the beach and swimming area on the island, which is recognized
as an important community need. The assessments carried out on the biophysical
environment on the northern side of the island indicate that the coral reefs within the project
boundary had very little live coral cover and limited reef fish abundance and diversity. The
depth of the project area ranges from -0.4m MSL in the nearshore areas to -0.8m MSL at the
proposed burrow site. The current flow was from east to west reaching to speeds of 0.14m/s
and 0.18m/s. The area in close proximity to the project has known surf points. Most of the
lagoon environment was covered with seagrass Thalassia hemprichii.
There are two Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) within close proximity of the project location.
Thamburudhoo Thila MPA is located close to the project site at distance of 1.2km NE and
Lankan Thila MPA is located 5km SW. There are two Sensitive Sites (SSs) within the
vicinity of the project site, they are Huraagandu SS located at a distance of 4.3km north and
Okebe Thila SS located at a distance of 7.4km SW.
Key environmental impacts from the proposed project will be from sedimentation to the reef
areas on the northern and NW sides, changes in the hydrodynamics of the burrow area and
nearshore lagoon on northern side of the island as well as potential changes to the northern
shoreline of the island and these impacts can be reduced by implementing various
environmental management and mitigation measures such as undertaking excavation, sand
pumping and beach nourishment operations coinciding with low tide and on calm days to
reduce spread of sedimentation as well as undertaking the operations in the quickest possible
timeframe to reduce impact exposure period.
Although there are some environmental impacts from the proposed project, most of these
impacts can be reduced and mitigated by use of appropriate methodology and timing. The
effectiveness of these methodologies can be documented by implementing a comprehensive
monitoring programme. Also, with positive socio-economic outlook of the project and the
community needs for the project, it is concluded that the project should go ahead as planned.|
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