Environment minister inaugurates coastal protection project in Raa Maduvvari

Environment Minister Thoriq Ibrahim inaugurated a coastal protection project on the island of Maduvvari in Raa atoll on Thursday (August 7).

“Under this project a total length of 890 meters of coastal area will be protected in R.Maduvvari,” the ministry explained in a statement.

“This project is contracted to MTCC for MVR33 million from government budget. The government is taking measures of coastal protection in several islands throughout Maldives with the government budget and donor agencies.”

According to the environment ministry, island council members, senior officials from the Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC), and Maduvvari MP Mohamed Ameeth participated in the inauguration ceremony.

In his speech, Thoriq noted that 90 percent of islands in the Maldives was affected by coastal erosion and expressed hope that the successful implementation of the project in Maduvarri would mitigate the impact of erosion.

In July, Vaavu Fulidhoo and Lhaviyani Kurendhoo faced increased coastal erosion caused by ‘Udha’ swell waves during the south-west monsoon season.

Fulidhoo faced the loss of the island’s football stadium while the local graveyard on Kurendhoo was just 15 feet from the encroaching waves.

An official from the Kurendhoo island council told Minivan News at the time that a now- stalled harbour project of the island includes a 309-meter rock revetment, the construction of a 207 meter concrete quay-wall, and a 582 meter rock armour breakwater.

The MVR40 million (US$2.5 million) project was handed over to MTCC in March 2013 and was expected to be completed within a year.

The Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) Senior Environment Analyst Rifath Naeem meanwhile explained that harbour construction was very likely to be an underlying reason for the increasing number of islands with chronic beach erosion.

Harbour construction could interfere with the natural movement of sand, Naeem said, which forms and sustains islands.

“Sometimes construction of harbours or other development activity could throw off the balance in this system. When the complex dynamics and equilibrium of sand movement are affected by such activity, it could increase accretion or erosion of beaches. What’s happening to the beach of one island could affect that of another island in that same reef,” he said.