International expertise sought to restore Kulhudhuffushi mangrove

An aerial shot of H. Dh. Kulhudhuffushi mangrove after the land reclamation project in 2018. (File Photo)

Ministry of Environment has made the decision to seek international expertise to restore life to the H. Dh. Kulhudhuffushi mangrove which was damaged in the land reclamation project for construction of an airport on the island.

State Minister of Environment, Abdulla Naseer said the land reclamation had resulted in drastic changes to the natural properties of the large mangrove.

He said that the mangrove, as a result of the land reclamation project, is now cut off from the sea.

“Many have been urging us to restore it. We need to assess possible options to do this. Our objective is to identify the resources necessary and the methods by which we can do this. We are currently planning on seeking international expertise,” said Abdulla Naseer.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirms Minister of Environment, Dr. Hussain Rasheed has now accepted support from the international network, Mangrove Action Project  (MAP) to save the Kulhudhuffushi mangrove.

MAP has presence in multiple countries and uses Community-Based Ecological Mangrove Restoration (CBEMR) technique to restore and save dying mangroves.

The land reclamation project in Kulhudhuffushi was part of a nation-wide airport development project undertaken by former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. It was widely opposed by environment experts and members of the general public for its adverse environmental impact on the island at the time.

The current administration, after it came to power in late 2018, declared the remaining part of the Kulhudhuffushi mangrove as a conservation site.

EPA has expressed hope the collaboration between MAP and local expertise proves successful in restoring the mangrove.