Plastics, especially single use plastic items, are one of the biggest threat to the environment and economy. Single use plastic not being handled properly has become a significant environmental issue over the past decade in Maldives. Single use plastics such as PET bottles, plastic straws, spoons, knifes, plastic bags, plastic packaging material are not disposed properly throughout the Maldives and like everywhere in the world, almost 80 percent of these single use plastics end up in either on the sea, beaches or unregulated waste dump yards.
One area where an urgent solution has to be found is how the 150 million PET water bottles that are produced annually can be properly disposed without harming the environment. There are several initiatives around the world and in Maldives to recycle the reuse the water bottles. One such initiative is the 3R initiative under the ‘Saafu Raajje’ program. Under this program and also as stipulated in the National Waste Management Policy, every island in the Maldives must have and Island Waste Management Facility. In this facility plastics and PET bottles will be segregated and compacted (reduced) and bailed for exports to any county that is interested in plastic recycling.
The sources of PET bottles are water bottles and soft drink bottles bottled in the Maldives. A large amount of water bottles and soft drink bottles (PET bottles) are also imported into the Maldives. Sustainably managing this stream of single use plastics require the involvement of all drink manufactures, and other relevant stakeholders such as the Government, WAMCO, NGO’s, resorts, guest houses etc.
However, currently, the actions taken have thus far been fragmented. A more harmonised and coordinated effort can then dramatically improve the impact and success of these interventions.
Maldives Ocean Plastics Association (MOPA) is committed to this goal.