NGO sues government over mangrove destruction

NGO sues government over mangrove destruction
November 13 16:39 2017

The government is being sued over the destruction of mangroves to make way for an airport in Kulhudhuffushi.

The NGO EcoCare Maldives initiated the civil suit against the Ministry of Environment and Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The reclamation work is part of a project to build an airport in the northern island. It was inaugurated Sunday by President Abdulla Yameen.

EcoCare said the lawsuit concerned the “non-compliance of the Environmental Decision Statement, provided by the environment ministry, by the developer and contracting parties ahead of the beginning of the reclamation work of the mangrove.”

Maeed Mohamed Zahir, from EcoCare, told the Maldives Independent the organization had noticed irregularities and conflicts in the ministry’s environment decision statement.

“Even if it is flawed, the conditions set in the decision statement have to be followed to the letter. This is not being done by the project oversight body and its subcontractor. For example, the burrow area [the area from where sand is dredged to be used in reclamation] has not been specified and the necessary studies have not been undertaken; the project area has not been cordoned off from the rest of the wetland area and most importantly, no proposal for an alternative flood mitigation and drainage system in the island has been initiated,” Maeed said.

EcoCare said that the non-compliance violates the law.

“This non-compliance is in violation of articles 22 and 67, (h) of the Maldivian constitution; articles 1 and 3 of the Maldives Environmental Protection Act and article 14, (b), (1) of the Maldives Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation,” the statement said.

In its lawsuit, the NGO has asked the civil court to direct the ministry and the EPA to take action against the non-compliance.

The case, filed last Wednesday, was accepted and registered at the civil court Monday. A hearing date has not been set.