With several conditions now in place for the environmental approval for the Port City, a detailed Environmental Management Plan (EMP) is now being put in place by the CHEC Port City Colombo for the proper implementation of the project and mitigate “possible environmental impacts”.
Coast Conservation and Coastal Resources Management Department (CC&CRMD) Acting Director General B.K. Prabath Chandrakeerthi has advised the Megapolis and Western Development Ministry Secretary on this matter, stating that a clear monitoring plan (MP) has to also be prepared as soon as possible and submitted to the CC&CRMD.
Port City sources said this is to ensure the proper implementation of the conditions which include the total ban on dredging in Site 1 (which has some fishing grounds identified in the SEIA).
The MP will include GPS tracking, which monitors all the dredging activities of the project.
It has been agreed with the Port City that an adequate amount of funds would be allocated to implement the environmental management plan (EMP) and the monitoring plan (MP). The CC&CRMD has stressed that recognised institutions should be engaged in the implementation of the monitoring plan. In addition to the monitoring programme, the project proponent should carry out a self monitoring programme of all project activities, and submit these reports to the Coast Conservation Department.
In addition, the bathymetry, or sea bed profiling, of the proposed burrowing areas should be carried out before and after extraction of sand for monitoring purposes and this report should be submitted to the CC&CRMD.
The EMP will also include a baseline study of coastal water quality of the proposed project area and these reports should be submitted to the Coast Conservation Department. In a letter from the Coast Conservation and Coastal Resources Management Department Acting Director General to the Megapolis and Western Development Ministry Secretary, it was stated that mitigation measures suggested in the SEIA report and others in the approval document should be elaborated in the environmental management plan to facilitate its monitoring. Routine biological monitoring regarding marine habitats in the study area are to be carried out before, during and after sand dredging and reclamation.