The international airport being developed in Maafaru was recently given permission by Environment Minister Dr. Hussein Rasheed for the expansion of its runway which was against the assessment made by the Environment Protection Agency.
However, the environment ministry has stated that permission was granted under certain conditions such as taking the right measures to ensure that minimal environmental impact is made during the expansion and to follow strict management and monitoring plans provided by the ministry during the project.
According to the assessment made by EPA, the expansion of the runway would result in the residents of the island coming short on the expansion of plot of lands for their living and also the location for the sand to be dredged for the expansion is rich in sea life especially for turtles. The report stated that there would be detrimental effects on the reef and also 22,000 over trees must be uprooted to make way for the expansion.
Both the environment ministry and EPA have been criticized over the decisions made which are not in the best interest of the environment.