MATI calls stakeholders to respect EPA’s order to halt land reclamation

The Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) has urged all industry stakeholders to respect the recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) order calling out to halt all ongoing land reclamation projects.

EPA made the demand last Thursday, urging all stakeholders to halt any ongoing reclamation project until June 10 owing to potential and irrecoverable damages to coral reefs due to the ongoing mass coral bleaching event.

MATI in its Sunday statement supported EPA’s order, noting the stakeholders and others to honor the environmental agency’s demand.

“We are confident that effective implementation of these measures will undoubtedly aid in lessening the effects of the current mass coral bleaching event,” MATI said in its statement.

According to EPA, the Maldives is in “Alert Level 1”, which indicates high-level coral bleaching.

In addition to a halt on land reclamation, EPA also ordered a temporary cessation of channel dredging, sand piling or draining using pumps, installation of cables and pumps on reefs, construction of boundary walls, and any other aspect that require machineries for the work.

Besides this, EPA further confirmed that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on all these aspects need to be halted for now as well.

In response to EPA’s order, the Minister of Energy Thoriq Ibrahim concurred it was an economically sound decision. He argued that for the island nation that relies on its natural resources as the unique selling point to attract travelers, any damages to these resources could dampen tourist arrivals.

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