Madaveli-Hoadedhoo environmental issue intensifies with the destruction of causeway

Madaveli-Hoadhedhoo Causeway | Photo: Gaafu

Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll – Police stated today that they are investigating the purposeful destruction of the causeway connecting the islands of Madaveli and Hoadedhoo in the southern Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll.

The contentious issue of the Madaveli-Hoadedhoo causeway escalated with the destruction of the structure in the early morning of 26 August 2021.

The case was filed to the police on August 30 by a private citizen and by both island councils. While no arrests have been made regarding the matter, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also assisting the police in their investigation.

Residents of Hoadehdhoo and Madaveli have previously raised concern over the major part of Hoadehdhoo island being destroyed due to the Madaveli-Hoadehdhoo causeway project built in 2018.

Speaking to local media outlet “Sun”, Deputy Mayor of Hoadehdhoo Council, Ahmed Shiyam informed that the causeway results in heavy flooding in the island, therefore, the residents have requested the Planning Ministry through the Council to remove the causeway.

In addition to this, the MP for Madaveli Constituency, Hussain Firushaan stated that due to the causeway, about six hectares of land has become muddy to the extent that it cannot be used anymore. While the issue was previously sent to the Parliament, a report from the Parliament’s Environment and Climate Change Committee in 2020 stated that the causeway was not built in accordance with the advice given by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).

Over the past years, about 20% of the land of Hoadehdhoo has been destroyed due to the causeway, along with the palm trees that surrounded the causeway as well. If this continues to happen for a longer time, the citizens fear that it could destroy the farms nearby, affecting the economy of the island.

While constructing a new and better causeway along with finding a solution for the damages that have been already caused to the island was an electoral pledge of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Firushaan informed that the expenses to build a new causeway has been already included in this year’s budget and the design of the project has been completed as well.

The present causeway is a 440 meter long causeway extending from Madaveli to Hoadehdhoo. It was built in 2018 during President Yameen Abdul Gayyoom’s presidency and is worth over MVR 29 million.