Male’, Maldives – President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has decided to make 4 additional areas of Addu City as environmentally protected areas under the Environment Protection Act.
These four locations are;
- Kuda Kandu channel and Kandihera island
- Maakilhi, Fehela Kilhi and Medhe-aari kilhi (Hithadhoo)
- Maafishi Kilhi [Keyvaka Gonda] (Hulhudhoo)
- Mathi Kilhi (Hulhumeedhoo)
The decision was taken after the cabinet discussed the paper presented by Minister of Environment regarding the protection of the four locations identified to be included in the Addu Biosphere Reserve which was submitted to UNESCO on 30th September 2019 as these locations have significantly special environmental features.
The Kuda Kandu channel and Kandihera island area which being added to the protected areas includes the famous manta cleaning station which is an internationally known dive site. The other areas being protected are wetlands and naturally formed fresh water lakes which are some of the largest found in the Maldives.
While presenting the paper, Minister of Environment stated that 97% of the locals supported Addu to be made in to a Biosphere Reserve according to the surveys done to capture the public opinion on the matter. In addition to this, the minister also stated that the necessary stakeholders such as the relevant ministries, government authorities, offices and other sectors were included in the discussions before the paper was finalized.
The cabinet also decided to plan the necessary works related to the protection of these areas so that the developmental projects of Addu City are not affected.
It is one of the governments pledges to have a minimum of one island, one reef and one mangrove area declared as protected in each atoll of the Maldives. Under the first phase of this project, the government has gazetted 11 locations from Thiladhunmathi (HA atoll, HDh atoll, Shaviyani Atoll and Noonu Atoll) and the North East reef area of Fuvahmulah as protected areas under the Environment Protection Act.