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Title: Environment impact assessment for the proposed harbour quay wall construction at Maakurathu, Raa Atoll, Maldives
Authors: CDE Consulting
Keywords: Project description
Policy and legal framework
Existing environment
Stakeholder consultations
Impacts identification
Significant impacts and mitigation measures
Environmental management plan
Environmental monitoring plan
Issue Date: Dec-2017
Citation: CDE Consulting. (2017). Environment impact assessment for the proposed harbour quay wall construction at Maakurathu, Raa Atoll, Maldives. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This document is submitted to the Environment Protection Agency, by the proponent to fulfil the requirement of an EIA under the Environmental Protection and Preservation Act (EPPA) of the Maldives (4/93). The EIA Regulations 2012 has been used as a basis for preparing this document. This report provides the background to the proposed project components as well as an assessment of their likely environmental and social impacts, both beneficial and adverse. The proposed enhancement and mitigation measures are outlined where necessary, together with an environment management plan and a monitoring programme. This project was initiated by the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure with the aim of upgrading and increasing the usability of the existing harbour at R. Maakurathu. The project involves deepening some shallow areas within harbour basins and constructing a quay wall on the western side of the basin. The western side has been left as a beaching area with no quaywall during original harbor construction project. The estimated time for project completion is nine months. Project activities will be in conformance to the laws and regulations of the Maldives, and relevant international conventions that Maldives is party to. The key laws and regulations applicable to this project are: Environmental Protection and Preservation Act (4/93), Employment Act (2/2008), Immigration Act (1/2007), Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation 2012, Dredging and Land Reclamation Regulation, Waste Management Regulation 2013, and the Environmental Liability Regulation (Regulation 2011/R-9). Decision Statement for this EIA report and a Dredging and Reclamation Permit need to be obtained from the EPA prior to commencement of the project. The assessment shows that the proposed developments results in significant positive socioeconomic benefits during the operational phase. However, both the construction phase and the operational phase of the development result in negative impacts on environment. The main impacts from the project are potential impact on marine water quality and biodiversity from increased turbidity, and suspended solids generated from dredging works. In addition, as the public and Island Council expects expansion of the harbour, conducting the project without dialog with these key stakeholders may result in strong opposition to the project. Key mitigation measures for the project include finding options to minimise turbidity and sedimentation by carrying out dredging activities only in the allocated areas, during calm sea conditions preferably when the tide is low. The construction staff should also be properly educated on the sensitivity of the reef system and measures which can be taken to minimise impacts on the marine environment. Measures such as proper maintenance of vehicles and management of the site area can aid in minimising air as well as noise pollution. Contamination of the marine water, groundwater and land can also be limited by taking appropriate measures detailed in this report. Public consultations were carried out for the project with the island council and the public. The results show a difficult situation where the project proposed by MHI does not exactly match the expectations and demands of the community. The public and the Council indicates while they want the harbour upgrade project, they want to see the harbour expanded on the western side rather than construct the quaywall at the currently proposed position. They also complained that they were not consulted on the detailed design. MHI notes that the project has limited funds and therefore risks delaying the project if such major changes are to be accommodated. This issue needs to be resolved through dialogue between MHI, Council and the public prior to commencement of project. Alternative options were evaluated for the harbour layout and sand borrow area. The harbour layout favoured by the public included expanding the harbour to the west and constructing the quay wall. There is no design prepared for this. However, the proponent has stated that this is not practical within the funds available for the current project. The alternate sand borrow area is where vessel repairs are carried out and locals can benefit from dredging. However, this area is not recommended for this project due to concerns of erosion raised by public for other dredging activities around the island. The “no-project” option was also compared against the proposed project. A monitoring plan has been designed to assess any changes to the physical environment for the duration of the project. Estimated costs of monitoring of the preconstruction stage is approximately USD 5000 and USD 5500 for the construction stage. Monitoring costs for the operational stage is approximately USD 4700. The management plan 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 relevant authorities. The main conclusion of this report is for MHI to discuss and agree on the outstanding issues relating to project scope with the Council and public, before continuing with the project. If there is an agreement this EIA recommends to move forward with the proposed development with the suggested mitigation measures, and alternatives.
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