The Maldives is stepping up efforts to address beach erosion this year with projects worth MVR313million (US$20million) ongoing in some 16 islands, a fraction of the number of islands that require urgent shore protection measures.
Environment Minister Thoriq Ibrahim last week handed the state owned Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) and privately owned Capital Investment and Finance Pvt. Ltd.
three shore protection projects worth a total of MVR55.4million (US$3.6million).
A 710-meter breakwater will be built in northern hub of Haa Dhaal Kulhudhuffushi by mid 2016. A 355-meter revetment is to be built in Baa Atoll Thulhadhoo in north central Maldives and a 510 meter breakwater is to be built in Bilehfahi Island in the northern Shaviyani Atoll.
Some 67 percent of inhabited islands in the Maldives reported varying degrees of beach erosion in 2013, the environment ministry has said. Of the 114 islands that have reported erosion, some 67 are experiencing severe erosion.
Over 80 percent of the total land area of the Maldives is less than one meter above mean sea level, making it among the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change.
Houses, schools and hospitals are located within 100 meters of the coastline on most islands in the Maldives.
Nearly 45 percent of tourist resorts have also reported varying degrees of beach erosion, the ministry said.
Earlier this year, the environment ministry signed over contracts to design and build coastal protection structures in Haa Alif Hoarafushi, Alif Alif Ukulhas, Dhaalu Maaemboodhoo, Lhaviyani Kurendhoo, Thaa Veymandoo and Thaa Kandoodhoo.
The government of Netherlands in 2014 granted the Maldives 19.5million euros (US$21.5million) to address erosion in southern Fuvahmulah and three islands in Addu City.
In 2014, the ministry handed over shore protection projects for another five islands. They are Noonu Holhudhoo, Raa Maduvvaree, Meemu Naalafushi, Kaafu Maafushi, Kaafu Vilimalé, Gaaf Dhaalu Thinadhoo and Gaafu Dhaalu Faresmaathoda.
The MTCC was awarded a significant number of projects.