|Abstract: ||This report discusses the findings of a social and environmental impact study under the
proposed development of agriculture on Dhururehaa, Thaa Atoll. The project is proposed by
The proponent aims at developing Dhurureha as an agricultural island; providing job
opportunities, reducing dependency on imported produce and ultimately working towards
economic diversification and growth of Maldivian economy.
The agricultural activities on Dhurureha will be carried out in greenhouses as a hydroponics
system. A total of 12 greenhouses (100ft by 50ft each) is proposed to be built for growing
tomato, capsicum, bell pepper and lettuce. Additionally, a 60m by 30m nursery will be built
on the island. Access to the island is to be provided by dredging an access channel and a
200m jetty. Water requirement for the project is to be met by utilizing an RO plant. A suitable
size diesel generator will be used throughout the project to meet power requirement. Staff
facilities such as accommodation, mesh room, mosque and office building will also be
constructed on the island. A cold storage, general storage and small packaging facility will
also be constructed on the island during construction stage. A waste collection and
management station will be established for using during construction phase and operational
phase of the project
At present, Dhurureha is an uninhabited island not used for any purpose. However, locals of
the nearby communities use the island to collect coconuts, go on picnics and gather firewood.
Alternatives to project components have been identified in the project document. These
include alternative uses of the island such as for a tourist resort. However, upon closer
analysis of these options, the proposed development of the island for agricultural purpose was
found to be more viable based on the present circumstances under which the island has been
leased. Therefore, the consultants propose exploring use of alternative renewable sources to
the proposed fuel based energy generation.
Environmental impacts were assessed for both the construction and operation phase of the
project. Most of the environmental impacts of the project have been identified as minor
negative with highly positive socio-economic impacts. The main negative impacts from the project include habitat loss from vegetation clearance, sedimentation and consequent impacts
on marine wildlife health and waste generation during the operational phase. The mitigation
measures outlined for these impacts include conserving mature trees to the greatest possible
extent, relocating large live corals at the proposed access channel area and establishing dust
control plans in addition to employing best-practice guidelines during the operational phase.
The most positive socio-economic impacts related to the project are increase in job
opportunities, reduction in prices of agricultural produce and increase of national revenue.
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 proposed system. Yet, monitoring to ensure the effectiveness of the proposed
project would be necessary. Therefore, a monitoring component has been suggested which
takes in to consideration, the most important elements that require regular checks. This
monitoring component will be adhered to and will allow the assessment of changes due to
construction and implementation of the proposed agriculture project. Monitoring is
specifically focussed on employment opportunities, price changes in the market, direct and
indirect economic ventures, ground and marine water quality, changes in the hydrodynamics
of the project area as well as impacts on the reef or marine ecological area of importance.
In conclusion, it appears justified from a technical and environmental point of view, to carry
out the proposed project to develop Dhurureha as an agricultural island.|