The Project is classified as Environmental Category B in accordance with ADBs Environment Policy (2002) and the Environmental Assessment Guidelines (2003). Accordingly, an initial environmental examination (IEE) has been prepared for the proposed Project (Supplementary Appendix B) and a summary IEE is in Supplementary Appendix C. The Project will also comply with the Governments environmental requirements as specified in the Environmental Act 2003, and thus the environmental assessment has been reviewed by the National Environment Service (NES) and prior consent from NES will be obtained.
Potential impacts are mainly those associated with construction, particularly dredging of 107,000 cubic meters (m3) of bottom sediment and 25,000 m3 of concrete rubble. Six samples of dredged materials taken from the proposed dredging area showed that they consist mostly of sands and coral rubbles, and the silt content is only 2%. Chemical analysis of the dredged sediment has confirmed the absence of toxic or otherwise harmful levels of contaminants that would have required special consideration when selecting disposal sites. Environmental impacts of dredging will be mitigated by means of (i) a detailed dredging program, with proper sequencing of activities; (ii) use of a silt curtain; and (iii) staging and drying of spoil on-site, and stockpiling of spoil at the contractors quarry. About 10% of the material will be used for construction on-site, and the rest will be utilized off-site or disposed of in landfill areas. In previous dredging activities, there was high demand for sand and rubble that resulted in sales to the public as aggregate, fill, or soak pit material.
Overall, the IEE predicted insignificant environmental impacts of the Project because of the following: (i) the Project will be undertaken within the footprint of the existing harbor and port operations, (ii) there are no sensitive habitats in the vicinity of the harbor, and (iii) the harbor has in fact undergone previous projects of a similar nature (blasting, dredging, and wharf construction) without significant environmental impacts (i.e., in 1980, there were dredged about 200,000 m3 and in 2003 about 50,000 m3 mainly consisting of reef materials comprising coral boulders, gravel, and coarse sand). This material was used to create the current port facility (reclaimed land) east of the harbor, and also some of the reclaimed land in the Punanga Nui Market area east of the port area (to create ramps up to the main road and parking areas in between the road and the wharves).
The IEE provides for an environmental management plan (EMP). The EMP has been refined during detailed design, and included in the contractors contracts for the Project. The contractors will be guided by the EMP in managing environmental impacts. A monitoring plan has been prepared to monitor key environmental aspects, and it will provide feedback to the EMP as necessary.
|During Project Design
Consultations were held with all identified stakeholders to determine their interests and concerns related to the Project. A land use policy workshop was used as a venue to describe the Project and solicit ideas, concerns, and issues from representatives of all stakeholders. As a result of the one-on-one consultations and the group meeting, no specific social or poverty-related issues were raised. Environmental issues were documented in the project initial