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Saturday, July 18, 2015

In Maldives living coral is exhaustively stripped to supply construction industry which reduces coastline protection, increases storm induced erosion and flooding. National Agenda 21 planned to follow UN Agenda 21-Maldives gov. 1996 report

March 1996, "Paper 8: Environmental Changes in the Maldives: Current Issues for Management - by Mohamed Khaleel and Simad Saeed, Ministry of Planning Human Resources and Environment, Ghazee Building Malé, Republic of Maldives"


"As the Maldives is actively involved in bringing environmental issues to the forefront of the global political agenda, the role played by Maldives in the international arena is also briefly stated....


This paper is prepared by the Ministry of Planning, Human Resources and Environment to be presented at the Integrated Reef Resources Management Workshop, 16-20 March, 1996. In the paper, problems such as over-exploitation of marine resources and conservation of species is not considered as these areas represent the subject focus for other papers to be presented in the Workshop.
The environment of Maldives comprises a delicate and complex series of ecosystems that are unique to the tropical world and many have found it a pleasure to gaze upon. The Maldives has a rich biodiversity and the coral reef ecosystem is one of the most productive ecosystems with linkages ranging from microscopic plankton to the giant sperm whale.

The Maldives is very vulnerable as well. The very small size and virtual isolation of the islands make their ecosystems, both on land and the sea, particularly fragile. Until recently the lifestyles of Maldivians had been so simple that its impact on the environment was minimal. However, the rapid socio-economic development and fast growing population have greatly contributed to the degradation of the environment.
Current environmental issues stem in large part from the high population density which is aggregated onto relatively few islands in each atoll. The problems of a number of the more densely populated islands and some tourist resorts have reached critical levels in terms of environmental management. 
2.1 Beach Erosion
The islands of the Maldives are very transient, building and eroding at a rapid rate, and thus beach erosion is a very widespread problem. Severe cases of beach erosion have been reported by 57 inhabited islands and several resort islands. In an evaluation of coastal engineering issues in the Maldives (Readshaw, 1994), it was found that causes of erosion very greatly from one location to the other and the causes identified include: loss of a source of sand; increased exposure to the incident wave climate due to historical mining of the house reef; changes in the near shore current patterns, either due to natural causes or man made changes, such as construction of coastal infrastructure; changes in the natural sediment balance; and up drift impoundment of sand behind coastal structures built without pre-filling. Construction of groynes and other such structures helps in bringing about sand deposition and beach consolidation. However, it also often leads to further complications, especially if the constructions are improper. As a consequence of a lack of investigation of local current and wave regimes prior to construction activities, a number of breakwaters and defense structures have been damaged by normal wave and current action resulting in expensive repair and re-design.

2.2 Coral Mining  

In the Maldives, living coral is exhaustively stripped from shallow reef tops of faros by miners to supply the construction industry. The problem is particularly serious in the Malé and Ari zone supplying Malé and tourist resorts where there is a considerably higher demand for construction materials. Over a six year period the volumes of coral landed in Malé rose from 7,000 to 400,000 cubic feet. Statistics are no longer kept. Mining corals reduces coastline protection against normal tide and wave-induced erosion and sand movements and increases coastal susceptibility by effectively increasing water depth. One consequence is wave set-up, thereby increasing the possibility of storm-induced erosion and flooding. At intensively mined sites, diversity and abundance of coral reef fishes are also markedly reduced, with some reef fish species commonly used as baitfish entirely absent (Dawson Shepherd et al., 1992). Brown & Dunne (1988) carried out biological surveys on mined reefs and evaluated the impacts of coral mining in the Maldives....
3.3 Local Environment Agendas...

In the near future a National Agenda 21 will be developed as a follow up to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) and Agenda 21. Work on Health and Environment Chapter has already begun and a report is expected by the end of June 1996."...


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