Minister of Environment Dr Hussain Rasheed Hassan declared late Saturday that despite the Maldives advocating against climate change on an international platform, not enough individuals were heeding the call.
At the reception held to commemorate World Ocean's Day, Dr Hussain affirmed scientists' findings that if nothing were done to combat climate change, global temperatures would increase by more than two degrees by the year 2030 causing irreversible damage such as the deaths of reefs. While Maldives highlighted the various major damages climate change poses to the country and is calling on the international society to take preventative actions, Dr Hussain proclaimed that it is not being heeded adequately.
"Everyone says they are concerned. However, they do not undertake any action to reduce emissions. Certainly, those that emit the most are not concerned", said the Environment Minister at the reception attended by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
He further declared that there would be no foreign aid in protecting Maldives' reefs, thereby leaving locals to lead preservation efforts. He identified that, nevertheless, certain local practices such as littering on beaches lead to the damaging of reefs and loss of marine life.
"The reefs then are stressed and die as a result of tides drawing the trash to them. When the reefs die, islands would have no defence from the seasonal tides. Islands would erode. As an island nation, it is not feasible for us to erect barriers around each island".
The minister proclaimed that in addition to waste management, waste creation must be reduced. He further identified that 60 percent of the 500 tonnes of waste disposed at the landfill island of Thilafushi, from capital city Male', are food and beverages waste. According to Hussain, reducing such waste would save costs as well as the environment.
He affirmed that there are health hazards in addition to environmental damages caused by waste discarded to the oceans. He elaborated that such waste are consumed by the fish that make up the daily diet of Maldivians.
Furthermore, he identified the loss of marine life as a result of waste disposal into the ocean.
Additionally, the top 10 schools that collected and handed in the most amount of plastic waste were acknowledged in the reception.