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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the proposed geotechnical students at thilafushi lagoon, Kaafu Atoll
Authors: ސީޑީއީ ކޮންސަލްޓިންގު
CDE Consulting
Issue Date: Aug-2017
Citation: CDE Consulting. (2017). Environmental impact assessment for the proposed geotechnical students at thilafushi lagoon, Kaafu Atoll. Male': Maldives.
Abstract: This document is submitted by China Harbour Engineering Company Limited to fulfil the requirements for an EIA under Environment Protection and Preservation Act and EIA Regulations to undertake the proposed geotechnical investigations on Thilafushi Lagoon. The proposed activity requires drilling nine boreholes to depth of 30-40 m and extracting sediment samples for laboratory assessments. The project site is the presently undeveloped shallow northwest corner of Thilafushi Lagoon. This site has been designated as a zone for port development in the previous Thilafushi Master Plans. The proposed drill size is 6” and will be undertaken using a drill rig mounted on a small floating platform. Platform will be anchored using weights. Drilled holes will be filled with Bentonite up to the top 1 m. The remaining areas will be filled with sand. This activity is part of the Thilafushi Container Port Study. The Proponent and Ministry of Economic Development has signed an MoU for an exclusive negotiation towards entering int0 an investment agreement for the construction, operation, management and financing of a seaport and free trade zone at Thilafushi Island, Male’ Atoll. The project is at its initial phase where its technical and financial feasibility is assessed. The project will only go into a design and construction phase only depending on the outcome of the assessment and the negotiations between the two parties. For the moment, the project requires surveying the project site to determine the technical feasibility. These include bathymetry surveys, geotechnical surveys and hydrodynamic studies. The project site comprise of shallow reef flat and deep lagoon. The surroundings are in poor condition. The coral reef is largely dead with limited new recruits. The proposed impact foot print is covered with coral rubble and sand. Thilafushi lagoon has undergone years of modification and the marine water quality around it is known to be in the worst conditions of any lagoon in the Maldives. The proposed activities are 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 and Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation 2012. This assessment shows that there are no significant impacts from the proposed activity. This is due to the limited the number of drill sites, the diameter of the drilling pipe, shallow depth at most sites, short drilling period, small impact foot print and absence of live coral cover or suitable substrate at the proposed drilling locations. Thus, no major mitigations measures are recommended. However, best environmental practices when working coral reef environments have been recommended. Consultations were held with Ministry of Economic Development and Thilafushi Corporation (TCL). Both parties consulted have no reservations on proceeding with the project. TCL has raised the concern that the overall port project MoU has been agreed with China Harbour Engineering without their input and asks MED to consult in the matter in the future. However, they have no issue in proceeding with the study. TCL have placed come conditions before the work can be carried out. These include regulatory clearances from EPA and to inform TCL one week prior to the start of work on site. The alternatives evaluated for the project were the no project option, reduced number of boreholes and alternative options do deal with the abandoned drill holes. No alternative option was necessary as the activities as currently designed do not have significant impacts. Monitoring programme proposed has focussed on water quality, noise and reef health. It is recommended to proceed with the project using the mitigation measures and management plan presented in this EIA.
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