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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the proposed development of an agricultural island Dhurureha Thaa Atoll, Maldives
Authors: Sandcays
Keywords: Legislative and regulatory consideration
Project description
Project alternatives
Need and justification
Existing environment
Stakeholder consultations
Environmental impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental monitoring
Issue Date: Sep-2017
Citation: Sandcays. (2017). Environmental impact assessment for the proposed development of an agricultural island Dhurureha Thaa Atoll, Maldives. Male': Maldives
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 Mohamed Latheef. 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.
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