Despite Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) intervention, the Minister of Environment Dr. Hussain Rasheed permits the expansion of Maafaru International Airport.
The EPA Maldives had earlier intervened the expansion of Maafaru International Airport following the findings on Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report.
Following the authority’s intervention, Minister of Environment visited the site for an inspection and granted permission for a go ahead with the project.
However, Minister Dr. Rasheed asserts the Ministry had granted permission for the continuation of the project under specific conditions.
The contractors have been urged to reduce impact or damage to the environment during the development process, and to take all necessary steps to ensure minimum environmental damage.
EPA’s report points the land reclamation for Maafaru International Airport’s expansion will inversely affect on the locals of the island.
According to the agency, the land reclamation for the airport will result in the loss of potential reclamation of land to expand residential territory.
Furthermore, EPA notes the designated area for reclamation is rich in diverse underwater life including several spots where sea turtles frequent in abundance.
Moreover, the agency claims the land reclamation will result in irrecoverable damage to the island’s lagoon and the surrounding sea life.
According to EPA, under the project over 22,000 palms and trees will be uprooted while the reclamation area is designated for development of residences for the locals.
The airport is getting expanded, with increased runway space for larger commercial airlines to land and take-off including the Boeing 777s.
Developed under the grant of USD52 million from Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the Maafaru International Airport has been developed to accommodate large aircraft such as the Airbus A330s.
The airport’s runway stretches 2,200 meters in length and 40 meters in width.
Maafaru International Airport was officially opened on 01 January 2020.