Archive for EIA Process

Bluepeace Launches “SAVE ATOLL MANGROVE ECOSYSTEMS” Campaign on World Environment Day 2011

 

World Environment Day is an annual event that is aimed at being the biggest and most widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action. World Environment Day activities take place all year round but climax on 5 June every year, involving everyone from everywhere.

Through World Environment Day, the UN Environment Programme is able to personalize environmental issues and enable everyone to realize not only their responsibility, but also their power to become agents for change in support of sustainable and equitable development.

The theme for this year is ‘Forests-Nature At Your Service’ and Bluepeace has launched the ‘Save Atoll Mangrove Ecosystems’ campaign.

Mangrove ecosystems are highly productive contributing to the food chains of atoll islands. They are also important to the atoll ecosystems, as they filter out silt, nutrients and sand that would otherwise go out to the house reef around the islands, suffocate corals and encourage algal growth. They play a key role in our battle against climate change, releasing oxygen into the atmosphere while storing carbon dioxide.

Without these mangroves many deaths and more destruction from the deadly Asian Tsunami of 2004 could have occurred in many islands in the Maldives.

Mangroves in the Maldives has never been properly studied, already scientists have indicated that atoll mangroves ecosystems might have medically important organisms that might be cures for deadly diseases.

Mangrove Ecosystems are ecological hotspots rich in biodiversity and nursing grounds for milk fish an economically important species that is traditionally harvested in islands as subsistence in rainy season. They are also and important resting ground for migratory birds, and native wetland birds providing them safe shelter, clean water and guaranteed food sources.

Recently short-term investments in non-traditional commercial aquaculture for immediate gains are transforming mangrove ecosystems into salt marshes causing irreversible damage and destruction in the Maldives.  Many precious and rare species face extinction and biodiversity is being obliterated. This trend has caused a tremendous toll on the fragile mangrove ecosystem which in many islands are not properly managed and often used as garbage dumps.

Bluepeace strongly calls the government and other stakeholders to take urgent measures to protect this rich biodiversity mangrove ecosystems from destruction, declare these wetlands as nature reserves and for the Maldives to become a party to the Wetland Convention and Bonn Convention on Migrative species.

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WHO SHOULD POLICE THE ENVIRONMENT?

According to the EIA Report prepared by Government Authorized Consultant (after the project was started without an EIA) the proposed Holiday Inn, Henveiru Ameeneege is designed, built and operated to worldwide standards of Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG), including the 2007 standard “green line” Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG)’s response to Global Warming.

Henveiru Ameeneege

This is the first time in the Maldives a deep pile foundation structure is constructed. This also could be the first on an atoll island too. A total of 256 x 255 mm steel H piles are to be driven into more than 100 feet of the bedrock of Male. Pile driving into the bedrock has caused noise and vibration, causing physical damages to the buildings in the vicinity. Structural damage has been observed in nearby Dharumavantha School, raising concerns about the safety of students when the new academic year opens in the second week of January.

deep pile foundation

Piling started on 16 September 2007 and continued till 22 September 2007. The work was disrupted due to public complaints of noise and damages to nearby buildings. However, permission was granted on 22 December 2007 to go ahead after carrying out an EIA.

On 2 January 2008, the project was suspended for further review by the Ministry of Environment. However, the work has been resumed on 4 January 2008 with a permission issued by Ministry of Construction and Public Works to resume the work, without consulting the Ministry of Environment, according to Television Maldives.

cracks cracks

The Environmental Protection and Preservation Act 1993 says that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) must be submitted to the Ministry of Environment before “implementing any activity that impact on the environment.”

Why wasn’t an EIA done before initiating the hotel project especially as this is the first time that deep piling techniques are used in the Maldives? How appropriate is this technique for a coral island? This project has shown the lack of coordination between the concerned government agencies such as Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Construction and Public Infrastructure, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and Male’ Municipality. This raises the question of who should be policing the environment.

Related news articles

http://www.minivannews.com/news/news.php?id=3983
http://www.minivandaily.com/component/option,com_magazine/func,show_article/id,6026/
http://www.minivandaily.com/component/option,com_magazine/func,show_article/id,6066/
http://haveeru.com.mv/?page=details&id=62403&cat=search
http://www.traveldailynews.com/new.asp?newid=35382&subcategory_id=59

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