EPA permits transport of trees from 5 islands to Emboodhoo

G. Dh. Faresmaathodaa. (File Photo)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued permission for trees and plants to be uprooted and transported from five uninhabited islands - which are being reclaimed to develop the G. Dh. Faresmaathodaa Airport - for the multi-million dollar Emboodhoo integrated resort development project.

The airport in Faresmaathodaa is being developed by joining the five islands which lay to the East of the island; Kandaddhuvaa, Handaidhuvaa, Dhoonirehaa, Kaalhehuttaa, and Maareha thrugh land reclamation.

President of Faresmaathodaa Council, Nasrulla Mohamed reports workers are currently uprooting the vegetation on the islands and clearing it for airport development.

The vegetation uprooted from the five islands are being transported to K. Emboodhoo, added Nasrulla.

An official from EPA confirms the vegetation was being transported to Emboodhoo with the necessary permits.

The decision to transport vegetation uprooted from the five islands to Emboodhoo instead of inhabited islands, even with the necessary permits, is under criticism by several members of the public.

According to Article 5 (a) of the Regulation for Uprooting Trees and Transporting Trees to Other Island formed under the Environment Protection and Preservation Act, trees can be uprooted from an island and transported to another island with the permission of the EPA. And that trees can only be uprooted and transported to other islands out of absolute necessity and in accordance with the Guideline for Uprooting Trees and Transporting Trees to Other Island.

Several cases of trees uprooted from inhabited islands and transported to resorts and land reclaimed for resort development drew sharp criticism of general public. Recent such cases came from K. Thoddoo and K. Kaashidhoo.

The cases led to Ministry of Environment establishing a new regulation for uprooting vegetation from islands – which was criticized by several for not being constrictive enough.