DAM: EIA for Mathikomandoo reclamation project does not meet regulations

Illustration of Mathikomandoo project.

Dredging Association of Maldives (DAM) states that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the land reclamation project in Sh. Mathikomandoo does not meet the EIA Regulation nor the standard procedure followed by EPA in such processes. 

In a statement on Thursday, DAM said the EIA report approved for the project has a number of technical issues, including insufficient project justification, and the lack of survey of the wave dynamics around the island – which the association noted would have a huge direct impact on the newly reclaimed land and existing coastal features in Komandoo. 

DAM also said that the EIA report states an addendum report would be made to source sand for the project from an area north of Komandoo, but the project commences by sourcing sand from an area in R. Atoll. 

The association said that the EIA addendum report approved for sourcing sand from R. Atoll was just a 30-page monotonous document 80% of which was just referenced back to the R. Ungoofaaru land reclamation EIA.  

“No additional study was undertaken for the report. Since the field surveys for Ungoofaaru EIA was carried out in April and May 2021, and EIA addendum report cannot be based merely on these surveys and without undertaking further field surveys. Additionally, the report clearly showed that no stakeholder consultation was carried out as stated in the ToR,” said DAM. 

DAM stressed that the approval and rejection of EIA reports are based on the EIA Regulation. 

“Hence, even if it is EPA, they cannot approve an EIA report that does not satisfy the regulatory terms stated under the regulation,” said the association. 

R. Atoll Council’s president has also expressed concern over the decision to source sand for the project from R. Atoll. 

The MVR 264 million project to reclaim land and link Komandoo and Mathikomandoo had not been on the 2022 budget, but was announced ahead of the Komandoo by-election.