Strong waves and seasonal swells in Kulhudhuffushi have damaged a newly placed breakwater on the west side of the island, with flooding in an area reclaimed for a controversial airport development project.
Some boulders placed outside the reclaimed area for shoreline protection have also been displaced, island residents told the Maldives Independent.
“It’s not completely destroyed but some boulders are displaced and waves have poured in,” said Abdulla Adam.
A swathe of the Kulhudhuffushi mangroves was reclaimed for the airport project last year. The lagoon was reclaimed all the way to the reef’s edge on the west side and the artificial breakwater was set up for shoreline protection.
In the past, annual swells in the rainy season caused waves to break through the shoreline and into the mangrove lake from the west side. After a road was made to encircle the mangroves some years ago, waves have crossed the narrow road into the mangrove lake.
“It’s a natural process of the mangroves, absorbing the swells and acting as a defence to the island…the mangroves serving their natural function,” said Adam.
“Now the mangroves have been destroyed and what’s more, land has been reclaimed all the way to the reef edge. So obviously this was bound to happen.”
It is unclear what this means for the airport project or what the MTCC, which carried out the reclamation work, will do about it.
An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project warned in October that the reclamation of the mangrove and lagoon “may escalate the flooding issue that Kulhudhuffushi already experience as wetland is used as the catchment area for the flood drainage system of the island.”
To mitigate these effects the EIA proposed boosting shoreline protection.
“The proposed 250 – 500 kg unit weight materials to be used in the revetment structure will not be suitable for the wave conditions at the site. It is recommended to utilise at least 1000 kg unit weight materials. Ideally 1500 to 2000 kg would be better suited to this environment,” the report said.
However, Adam says the MTCC failed to employ the EIA recommendations.
“I have been to the site, and it does not look like the boulders placed there are 1000 kg boulders.”
The MTCC was not responding to calls at the time of publication.
Adam said he was more concerned about potential flooding and damage on the north-east coastal area, where many houses are located a few yards away from the sea.
“They have taken out the natural beach rocks to put the same breakwater on the north side. And if the same happens here, there is no barrier anymore. The houses are only a couple of yards away from the shore.”
The EIA had also warned the project may alter coastal hydrodynamics, leading to erosion on the north side.
Photos: Ali Hassan
Wednesday roundup: Chief justice challenges watchdog inquiry
News in brief: Single-parent allowance and tenants rights
Tuesday roundup: anti-corruption watchdog probes compensation payouts
News in brief: EPA rescues tied-up turtle
Monday roundup: economic growth and sacking of broadcasting commissioner
Warehouse fire in Maldives capital claims one life
Maldives coral reefs show signs of resilience and recovery
Minivan Brief: Weaponised Islam and #MvTreeGrab
Audit exposes corruption at National Center for Information Technology
More than 400 people displaced in Malé warehouse fire
Crime1 month ago
Immigration stopped 11 ‘imposters’ with fake passports
Crime3 months ago
Charges raised over street harassment for first time in Maldives
Crime3 months ago
Ex-vice president detained in India after fleeing Maldives
Politics2 months ago
‘Terrorist group’ behind Rilwan’s abduction
Society & Culture2 months ago
Five dead in tragic accident at sea
Politics2 months ago
Maldives backs India’s ‘right to amend laws as required’
Business & Tourism3 months ago
India becomes second largest market for Maldives tourism
Crime2 months ago
Rilwan killed by Maldives group linked to al-Qaeda, presidential commission reveals