200 projects stalled by coral bleaching to resume : Minister

Minister of Climate Change, Environment, and Energy Thoriq Ibrahim has announced that over 200 stalled projects due to anticipated coral bleaching will resume operations this year.

The decision follows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issuing permits to restart the projects, which were initially suspended on May 9 due to concerns about coral bleaching in the Maldives. Coral bleaching, caused by rising sea temperatures, has been a growing concern, prompting EPA to take proactive measures.

Addressing to PSM News, Minister Thoriq emphasised that coral bleaching has been a significant issue across different regions of the Maldives in recent months but noted a gradual decrease as sea temperatures have fallen. With EPA granting permits, some projects have already resumed, signaling a positive step forward. However, Thoriq reiterated that the primary cause of coral bleaching is insufficient oxygen reaching the coral due to increased sea temperatures, particularly near project sites like lagoons.

The Maldives has experienced coral bleaching multiple times in recent years, with the last significant event occurring in 2016. Minister Thoriq highlighted that the peak season for coral bleaching has passed, and if projects adhere to EPA standards, environmental damage can be further minimized. As a result, major developmental projects such as land reclamation, dredging lagoons, and laying pipes and cables near lagoons will now proceed, contributing to the country's infrastructure and economic revitalization while ensuring environmental sustainability.