Unsafe dredging in Meedhoo can cause lung and respiratory diseases, says HPA

In a letter addressed to the minister of environment and energy, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has said that said unsafe dredging in Meedhoo, Dhaalu atoll, will have great health risks for the local population.

The Meedhoo land reclamation project was halted by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to take measures to minimise the environmental impact of the work as per regulations.

The HPA launched an investigation to identify the health impact of the project after having received complaints.

HPA’s letter – a copy of which was obtained by Minivan News today – noted that there is a high chance that the continuation of the project as it is would have a negative health impact in the long run.

According to the letter, the agency’s investigations indicated that it is highly likely to cause lung and respiratory diseases.

“Therefore we request to find another way of carrying out the work, and to encourage working in a way that would not have any negative impact on human beings,” read the letter.

Using the rainbowing technique – the propulsion of materials through the air in a high arc – rather than using pipelines to take the the sand closer to the land, has left a large part of the island’s shoreline vegetation and many houses near the beach covered in fine sand and sea water.

Environmental NGO Ecocare earlier said that the project’s environmental implications are “frightening” and both public and private property are at risk.

“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 organisation said in a statement issued yesterday.

Meedhoo Council President Ahmed Aslam confirmed that rainbowing has affected destroyed the vegetation on the island and caused some damage to property as well.

“It is true, rainbowing has caused some damages to the island. Soil and seawater was sprayed all over the place. And as this is a small island, it was all over the houses near the beach and had damaged the vegetation all over the island,” Aslam explained.

He said that when the council took the issue to the Housing Ministry, they requested they communicate with Boskalis International – the company contracted to carry out the work – to ensure mitigation measures are taken properly.

Aslam however denied media reports that the dredging vessel had left the island due to the environmental issues.

“We communicated directly with Boskalis people. They confirmed that the vessel was leaving the island to repair a pump. They are bringing in mechanic from abroad. We expect the work to resume within four days,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Housing Dr Mohamed Muiz told Haveeru that the EPA had acted without discussing the issue with the ministry and that there were political reasons in the EPA’s suspension of the operation.

“The issue of EIA [Environmental Impact Assessment] came up while some political people were trying to stop the work, because we are speeding up a work which they were unable to do during MDP’s three years in government,“ Muiz was quoted as saying in Haveeru.

While the EPA is a legal regulatory authority, the agency it not independent and functions under the Ministry of Environment and Energy.

Muiz confirmed to Haveeru that the work was halted due to violation of EIA conditions and said Boskalis International had now been asked to suspend operations and to continue work after resolving the issues.

The US$10.8 million government project to have 17.5 hectors of land reclaimed and a 485 metre revetment constructed in Meedhoo is being implemented by Netherlands’ Boskalis International.

4 thoughts on “Unsafe dredging in Meedhoo can cause lung and respiratory diseases, says HPA”

  1. They'll be back in 2018. Until then, may the suffering of the 51% continue.

  2. Kuribee/Hero is mysteriously missing from this section.

  3. hey u miss me right.

    Brother. You said no one is bothered to see or read my comment but u do .

    U know that place reclamation is 90% completed and u can go check.

    Even if they don't do any more reclamation , there is huge land area available now since 90% of the work was completed.

    Yameen does not go bullshit and he is a man who will get the job done.

    We are still waiting for the promises made by gnashed to have Gas lines connected to my house in Thinadhoo which we were supposed to have the connection in 2009 itself.

  4. What's the point of having land reclamation when the human cost is bigger than the project itself? This is not a 'job done'. This is bigger than the stuff you happily dump on Anni for a few grams of heroin.

    Then again, a thinadhoo boy like you might not have any idea what happened in my home. Sand on my roof. The trees in my island is dying because they were sprayed with debris and seawater.

    You probably dont care. You and your 'island-centric' brainwashing. You forget that we are all Maldivians, and we're being subject to highway robbery by the Maumoon gang.

    And here's a little tidbit of information for you; the koalhushun was the ones who stopped the development projects for thinadhoo in 2009. There were even protests against the maumoonists in parliament when this happened.

    You probably don't even remember.

    Keep blindly supporting them if you must. We'll just hate you more for it.


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