The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reduced the fine imposed on Alimatha Resort for the disposal of waste into the sea from MVR 312,000 to MVR 45,000.
The agency in an announcement made last Thursday, confirmed that it has revised its previous order issued in July 2022 against Alimatha Resort and reduced the fine imposed after they appealed the order to the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Technology.
Under the Penalty and Liability Regulation on environmental damage, the Ministry has the authority to consider and grant exceptions for appealing fines or liabilities.
EPA said that the Ministry appealed the fine because the agency did not have any evidence or documents to support the claim that Alimatha Resort had illegally dumped waste into the ocean for a period of two to three months. In addition, it was the first offense committed by the resort in relation to such a matter.
EPA has ordered Alimatha Resort to settle the fine within 30 days, inclusive of public holidays. In addition to the fine, the resort has been directed to submit a waste management plan, which details how food waste and other perishable items are disposed of, within the same 30-day period.
In April of last year, Vaavu Atoll Council filed a request with the relevant authorities to investigate reports of illegal waste dumping by some of the resorts in the atoll. Waste disposal into the ocean from tourist resorts in the area has remained high.
A regulation introduced by the Ministry of Tourism 15 years ago had allowed tourist resorts to dispose food waste and perishables into the ocean. However, due to the escalating problem of waste dumping and its environmental impact, the ministry revised the regulation to prohibit the disposal of waste into the ocean.
In addition to the revision of the regulation by the Ministry, the disposal of waste into the ocean has also been prohibited under the Waste Management Act which came into force last year.