Good environmental and social management is an integral part of the way Boskalis operates on projects. Boskalis has a longstanding tradition in managing environmental and social aspects in line with international responsible Business Conduct standards. These international standards are also applied on this project and its project components, such as the construction of the access channel and the use of the disposal area.

In addition to the local Environmental Impact Statement, prior to the start of the work, an Environmental and Social Impact assessment (ESIA) was produced for the access channel and disposal site by an external international specialist consultancy firm to identify relevant environmental and social risks and determine mitigating measures to avoid or minimize risks. These measures have been fully integrated in the execution of the dredging works.

Environmental Management

The most important potential environmental impacts from dredging are related to the release of sediment into the water during the dredging process. Before starting the dredging works for the Access Channel, an assessment of potential environmental risks was carried out. As part of the assessment, soil samples were taken and analyzed to identify local species that may require a mitigation strategy and monitoring program.

For the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment of the Access Channel, the following field studies were conducted:

Water quality
Samples were collected around the Access Channel and Exclusion Zone area to see what “normal” conditions are like.

Sediment quality
Samples were collected of the sediment to be dredged in the Access Channel

(small animals living on and in the top 30 centimeters of the seabed).
Samples were collected around the Access Channel and Exclusion Zone area.

Habitat survey
A combined survey of bathymetry (shape and depth of the seabed) and roughness of the seabed is done in the Access Channel and Exclusion Zone to confirm that the seabed is muddy, and no seagrass or coral is present.

Cultural Heritage survey
The combined bathymetry and seabed roughness survey is also used to identify any shipwrecks or other man-made objects that may need protection.

  • In addition, desk and model studies were conducted on the following aspects:
  • Biodiversity and protected areas
  • Suspended sediment plume dispersion
  • Erosion and sedimentation

The laboratory studies did not reveal species or areas that are specifically sensitive to increased suspended sediment concentrations or sedimentation near the Access Channel.

During dredging activities, suspended sediments will be monitored at various locations around the Access Channel and in the rivers. The purpose of the water quality monitoring is to ensure that suspended sediment levels outside of the Access Channel Exclusion Zone stay below DENR water quality guidelines. There are also monitoring stations to measure natural suspended sediment levels in the rivers and in the bay further away from the dredging works. This is done to be able to determine whether suspended sediment concentrations near the dredging works are entirely due to dredging activities, or also partially caused by high suspended sediment levels from the rivers or the bay itself as a result of, for instance, rainfall or stormy weather.

Social impact

The social impact of the project is determined and managed by taking several structured steps. The process started with a social baseline assessment. The baseline assessment of fisheries and fishing-based livelihoods aims to develop a comprehensive understanding of the potentially impacted population’s fishing, processing, distribution, and marketing of fish; the productivity of these activities; their contribution to livelihoods; and attitudes toward the access channel. An impact assessment has subsequently been undertaken to identify effects on fisheries, livelihoods, marine navigation and traffic and community exposure to disease.

An Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) has been prepared as part of the ESIA based on the impact assessment and consists of the set of management, mitigation, and monitoring measures to be taken during execution of the work. This ESMP includes a stakeholder engagement plan that addresses information disclosure and ways to interact with stakeholders as an ongoing process, a grievance mechanism, as a process that ensures stakeholder feedback is registered and treated appropriately and a livelihood restoration framework.

During this process, the relevant Barangays have been contacted through their captains and focus group discussions took place with members of the communities. The Barangay communities have subsequently been informed of the start of the project through dialogue sessions, distribution of leaflets and putting up posters with contact details of the Community Liaison Officer, project purpose, safety considerations and grievance mechanism details.

Grievances coming in through the grievance mechanism, are treated in a joint Boskalis and SMAI Grievance Committee, that has been established specifically for the project. Ongoing stakeholder engagement is part of the approach and includes the implementation of the livelihood restoration framework during the course of the project.

Local content

In many cases the presence of our activities creates a positive socio-economic impact on the nearby communities. This could take the form of local job creation, procurement or community investment. Please refer to the Local Content section on this website for more information.