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Kudahuvadhoo showcases successful community-led waste management program

Malika Shahid
17 November 2022, MVT 11:03
"On the Ground, In the Sea: Waste Segregation Model Island Kudahuvadhoo" program launched by MOPA together with key partners Coca-Cola and MAWC in Dhaalu Atoll Kudahuvadhoo
Malika Shahid
17 November 2022, MVT 11:03

Dhaalu Atoll Kudahuvadhoo, a fast-growing regional economic hub in the Maldives, is leading by example in leveraging community participation and partner resources to transition from a linear "use and dispose" method of waste management to a "waste elimination" circular economy.

In September 2021, the island became the debut host of a model island project launched by Maldives Ocean Plastics Alliance (MOPA). Together with key partners, Coca-Cola and its bottling partner in Maldives, Male' Aerated Water Company (MAWC), MOPA launched the "On the Ground, In the Sea: Waste Segregation Model Island Kudahuvadhoo" program in the island.

President of Kudahuvadhoo Council, Ibrahim Fikury said “What we are implementing will create greater opportunities for our people to take care of the environment. Even though we are pioneering this model island system with the generous support of our partners, our hope is that other islands in Dhaalu Atoll and beyond will also join this initiative to create a circular economy for plastic waste and preserve our pristine environment”.

To kick-off the initiative, MOPA provided collection bins to the island council. The Dhaalu Atoll Education Centre had hosted a community awareness and education program on solid waste management, segregation, and recycling. Similar initiatives such as placing billboards at key locations of the island and hosting competitions for students about sustainability are held on a regular basis.

According to Thoriq Ibrahim, Founder and Chairman of MOPA the foundation adopted a bottom-up approach successfully transferring ownership of resources, operations and knowledge to the people of Kudahuvadhoo increasing the likelihood of sustaining the initiative.

“Kudahuvadhoo became the first island to fully comply with the new waste management regulation, including segregation at household levels. This a notable achievement,” Thoriq said.

Launched prior to the state mandated waste segregation at household level from June this year, the program has seen over 1,000 bins supplied to the island. Each household is provided with two bins and four gunny bags to segregate waste into four main categories: organic waste, plastics, metal and glass, and other mixed waste.

This allows the island’s waste management center to effectively collect and process waste. The segregated waste is collected from households and taken to Kudahuvadhoo Waste Management Centre (KWMC), operated by the island council, on a daily basis.

Since the project’s launch, 8.7 tons of plastic waste have been collected from Kudahuvadhoo. As the logistics partner of the project, Coca-Cola in Maldives supports MOPA in transporting the collected PET bottles - the most widely recycled plastic globally, from Kudahuvadhoo to capital Male'. The PET bottles are then handed over to Parley Maldives to be exported for recycling and upcycling into everyday items like footwear, swimwear and garments.

“Coca-Cola is committed to the principles of reducing waste, reusing and recycling resources and products. In Maldives, we have been taking bold steps under the strategic pillars of 'Design, Collect and Partner' to create a circular economy around the use of our packaging,” said Pankaj Sinha, Managing Director for Coca-Cola in the Maldives.

He said that the organization is pleased to have forged strong partnerships with local organizations like MOPA that are involved in practical solutions to address plastic waste and to see the promising results of these partnerships.

“Coca-Cola and MAWC are working together to build a better, more sustainable future together. We are dedicated to improving people’s lives, communities, and the environment,” said Sanjay Maniku, Managing Director at Male’ Aerated Water Company.

He added that the organization is looking forward to supporting MOPA in expanding the model island project.

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