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Six hectares of land reclaimed for Kulhudhuffushi airport

Aerial view of HDh Kulhudhuffushi shows ongoing land reclamation.

Aerial view of HDh Kulhudhuffushi shows ongoing land reclamation.

Six hectares of land reclaimed from the western lagoon of Haa Dhaal atoll Kulhudhuffushi and other preparations are fully underway to commence development of the island’s new airport.

The government-initiated project to develop a domestic airport in Kulhudhuffushi requires the reclamation of six hectares of the island’s western lagoon and nine hectares of its mangrove swamp.

While Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC)’s newest and largest dredger ‘Maha Jarraf’ has reclaimed the six hectares of lagoon, the construction of the bund wall through the mangrove swamp has also been completed. The bund wall is a temporary fixture built to separate the area of the swamp to be reclaimed from the rest of the wetlands.

According to MTCC, the project faced a delay due to the heavy rains the country experienced over the last two weeks, but reclamation of the swamp will commence shortly and will be completed in one month’s time.

The island’s council stated that before the reclamation of the wetlands, the trees and palms lining the area will be cleared for construction of the runway.

The government had initially planned to develop the airport on the seaward side of Kulhudhuffushi; however, the location was switched to the mangrove area over lack of sufficient land area.

The reclamation of the mangrove swamp had sparked immediate outcry from the island’s residents as well as environmentalists across the nation, as Kulhudhuffushi’s swamp is one of the largest in the northern atolls and is notable for its rich biodiversity, including several endangered species of mangroves. The government assured that the airport project will be carried out with minimal negative impact and damage to the environment.

The airport is to be completed by mid-2018.

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