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Soneva Namoona - going to new heights in waste reduction

Rabeeha Amir
10 December 2022, MVT 15:15
Rabeeha Amir
10 December 2022, MVT 15:15

An effective framework for sustainable waste management across 11 islands spanning Baa atoll, Noonu atoll, and Haa Dhaalu atoll has been established with the assistance from Soneva Namoona.

However, maintaining an eco-friendly waste management system does not come without challenges. To overcome these challenges, the Baa Kihaadhoo Island Council presented their targets for sustainable waste management to the senior officials from the ministries and members of parliament.

Soneva Namoona is made up of Baa Atoll’s Kihaadhoo, Dhonfanu, Maalhos, Dhavarandhoo, Kudarikilu, Kamadhoo and Kendhoo. Additionally Noonu Atoll’s Kudafari, Lhos, Magoodhoo and Haa Dhaalu’s Makunudhoo.

In the conference that was held in Kihaadhoo’s TVEC Centre earlier this week, presidents of island councils presented their goals to the ministers and attested to them. The goals were compiled from the findings made at a workshop held in Soneva Fushi last month.

The Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Technology Aminath Shauna, the Minister of Tourism Dr Abdulla Mausoom, CEO of the Local Government Authority Afshan Latheef and the parliament's decentralisation committee's president MP Ali Niyaz were present at the ceremony.

Council's Targets

- By 2024, all recyclable waste must be segregated before being collected.

- Non-perishable items not to be burned.

- Personal accountability to refrain from using single-use plastics.

- To source for waste management specialists to train and conduct workshops in the islands.

- To support resale markets and other waste reduction initiatives taken by local communities.

Council’s Recommendations

Apart from the targets they want to achieve, the councils also presented 13 recommendations for the government to act upon at a policy level. Highlighted recommendations :

- State organisation's such as MWSC to stop bottling water to reduce single use plastics.

- To conduct quality assurance tests for water and to make the results public.

- All schools to be provided with water stations in public areas.

- Resorts to stop using single-use plastics by 2024 and for it to be a mandatory requirement when the operating license is issued.

- To provide other alternatives to single use nappies at an affordable price.

- To supply equipment for environmentally friendly garbage handling along with qualified personnel and competitive pay.

Minister Shauna stated that it was well understood how detrimental improper waste management is to the nation's ecology, economy, and the people's well-being. However, she said she was impressed by the level of attention demonstrated toward proper waste management when she observed the local community's efforts at Kihaadhoo. She further stated that the example of Kihadhoo island should be mirrored in other islands across the Maldives. She also assured full support for the council's recommendations' implementation.

The eco centre and how households separate their garbage were exhibited to the government representatives. They were also shown how the "Alunbalun resale market," a project of Soneva Namoona and the atoll's committees for women's empowerment, operated.