PRESS RELEASE: Regarding the Land Reclamation Project carried out in Dhaalu Meedhoo
26th March 2014
Regarding the Land Reclamation Project carried out in Dhaalu. Meedhoo, Maldives.
It had come to our attention on Sunday, 23rd March 2014, that the Land Reclamation Project carried out by Boskalis International at Dhaalu Meedhoo, Maldives on contract for the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure has been carried out without taking the required mitigation measures noted on the EIA Decision Statement issued by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) for the project.
We were also aware of the very prompt action taken by EPA on this matter as they immediately issued a halt notice to the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure. We strongly support the stand of EPA on this matter.
As soon as we were aware of the situation we started to gather as much information we could on the situation in the island. We were able to find out that despite clear mitigation measures noted on the EIA Decision Statement, the reclamation work began without setting up a bund wall, which had to be in place before starting the filling process. We were able to gather that there had been no adequate measures taken to prevent the sedimentations from reaching inland to settlement areas, as filling was carried out by ‘rainbowing’ straight from the dredger with no extension pipes.
We also found out that fine sediments were ‘raining’ on rooftops and on the vegetation cover near shore and inland. While layers of sedimentation found on some rooftops were 2-3 inches thick, large trees on the shoreline and inland had also effected loosing its leaves, and are now drying and dying. The implications to the environment are frightening while property both public and private are at risk.
On 25th March 2015, with gathered information we started communicating with the Head Office of the Royal Boskalis Westminster in the Netherlands, reporting and raising our utmost concern on the situation. Within few hours we received confirmation from the Royal Boskalis Westminster that all work has been in fact halted and that the Office in the Netherlands was concerned and very much alarmed about the situation. We have also received word that the Office will be looking into the situation very seriously giving us more details in 2-3 days time.
At this time ECOCARE Maldives has been confirmed by both EPA and the Royal Boskalis Westminster that the reclamation activities has been halted and will only resume once the mitigation measures are in place.
We are closely monitoring the situation on the Island and at the same time we strongly demand all responsible actors to ensure compensation to the environment and people in the island for the losses. We also remind all responsible actors, contractors and investors to respect environmental ethics while pursuing such projects in future.
For more information please contact: Maeed M. Zahir Programs and Campaigns ECOCARE Maldives +960 7873692 firstname.lastname@example.org