Hamad Port, a Greenfield mega port located south of Doha city was developed as the new logistics hub for the State of Qatar. The scope of the first phase was to develop a port complex in an area of 28 square km including a 10 km long channel with a width of 300 m. The guiding principle for the port management was to ensure that the project is sustainable and environmentally does not adversely affect the communities in the vicinity. With guidance from the Qatar’s Environment ministry, a separate project was set for independently monitoring the development activities with respect to their effects on environment. In particular the impact of the construction activities on air quality, coastal morphology, groundwater quality, marine ecology, sediment, noise, fauna and flora were closely monitored and follow up actions were taken where needed.
For example, a separate project was initiated to relocate the ‘at risk’ marine life to alternate ‘recipient’ sites. A total of 4,257 square meters of sea-grass, 139,117 mangroves, 11,595 directly threatened hard coral colonies and 121 m³ of existing reefs were relocated to provide habitat for resident fish and preserve its ecosystem functionality.
Another environmental concern from the project was turbidity from dredging and groundwater disposal. To overcome this, huge dredged water settling ponds were constructed. Sand and gravel recovered from the dredging activities were processed and then beneficially used for reclamation and port construction activities. An estimated 44.4 million cubic meter of dredged material and 64.7 million cubic meter of excavated material were used for this purpose, resulting in significant savings for the project and partly offsetting relocation costs.
At the end of the monitoring period in 2017, the results were evaluated verifying that there was only minor environmental impact. The relocation project itself was considered very successful with 78% of the relocated communities surviving and now thriving. All environmental parameters are still monitored for future bench-marking purposes.