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Currently assessing land erosion: Environment Minister

Ahmed Aiham
30 January 2020, MVT 15:50
Minister of Environment Dr Hussain Rasheed Hassan. PHOTO: MIHAARU FILES
Ahmed Aiham
30 January 2020, MVT 15:50

Minister of Environment Dr Hussain Rasheed Hassan on Wednesday, announced that investigations were underway into identifying possible countermeasures against coastal erosion.

A considerable amount of islands face land erosion throughout the year, especially during the strong winds of the northeast monsoon (Iruvai) and strong wave action during the southeast monsoon (Hulhangu). However, islands have begun reporting more severe cases of erosion than before.

Speaking at a workshop to formulate a management plan for the 'Bodu Thiladhunmathi' Marine Protected Area (MPA), the Minister noted ongoing activities to further assess the situation.

Although Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed claimed that state action would be futile if land erosion persists at its ongoing speed and that it does not always correlate with human-induced impact, Dr Hussain noted the connection between human impact and environmental destruction.

In recent history, Maldivian governments have continued to engage in destructive coastal engineering projects as well as the deforestation of islands for the purpose of greenifying and landscaping upcoming resorts under the guise of development. Deforestation is also a factor in eroding islands.

Land reclamation also impacts the resiliency of coral reefs, an island's natural protection mechanism, greatly reducing its efficiency to shield itself from naturally occurring weather patterns that influence soil erosion.

Reclamation practices also cause large amounts of sediment to be washed away, often travelling great lengths from the coast of origin, blanketing nearby coral reefs and causing physical pressures on the marine ecosystem.

Various development projects sanctioned by President Solih's government contradict the spirit of their pledges to decentralize and ensure the protection of the environment, including the controversial proposal for the development of multiple bridges to link capital city Male', suburb Vilimale', Gulhifalhu and landfill island Thilafushi as part of the 'Greater Male Industrial Zone'.

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