Maldives president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on Sunday evening, stated the mangrove reclamation for airport development was his 'favor for Kulhudhuffushi.'
The reclamation of approximately 6 out of the 22 hectare mangrove for airport development in Haa Dhaal Kulhudhuffushi attracted heavy criticism from Maldives public and various environmental organizations.
In his defense, while addressing to questions at presidential debate hosted by Maldives National University (MNU) president Yameen said by reclaiming 6 hectares of the clay-sediment mangrove he did a favor.
His justification for the response, was that the portion reclaimed under the project was already polluted by waste disposed by the islanders.
"I have done a favor for them, by ceasing waste disposal to the area and introducing WAMCO to the island. And by introducing a proper waste management system in Kulhudhuffushi," president Yameen justified.
The Maldives head of state further insisted he had not seen any credible and scientific reasoning on possible adverse effects of reclaiming the mangrove.
The mangrove in Kulhudhuffushi is one of the largest fresh-water basins with rich clay sediment in its bottom. The mangrove is also the only clay-sediment fresh water sources in the country.