Local youth-led volunteer clean-up movement 'Saafu Villingili' announced on Sunday that it has installed a third batch of 23 dustbins, amounting to total 60 dustbins across Villingili, Gaafu Alif Atoll.
The announcement made on social media further revealed that the green dustbins placed were an indication to several local businesses that aided the movement, and that many more dustbins will be installed in clean-up efforts.
Saafu Villingili movement was initiated on June 11 based on pictures of a clean-up that occurred in another island circulating on social media, which incentivised a group of youths to implement a similar practice in Villingili.
In an exclusive interview with The Edition, Fathimath Maahaa Adil, a volunteer for Saafu Villingili, said that a meeting and a clean-up event were arranged to be held on one of the beaches, which amassed more volunteers than expected.
The high turnout indicated that there were several young people concerned and willing to partake in a movement to counteract the prevalence of littering in the island.
Maahaa stated that it was unexpected that the movement would grow to the point that it has today, as it began merely as a one-day event. However, she said that Saafu Villingili was operational in holding clean-up events in different locations across the island in a serialised format of phases every Friday morning since.
According to Maahaa, the youth decided to hold the events on Fridays as they are able to be active for longer, from 0530 - 1130 hours. She further revealed that in addition to cleaning, maintenance of the areas was another issue and over time the movement developed the idea to install dustbins to assure proper waste disposal.
She elaborated, "Certain members of the group checked the landfill in the island if there were any reusable waste, and they found that there were remnant pipes and plumbings discarded from installing sewerage systems in the island. The materials were collected and they were shaped and turned into the dustbins".
"At the time, we decided to install 35 dustbins. Since then, we have decided to install 100 of these dustbins, whereas currently there are a total of 60 placed already across the island. We have decided to install 20 dustbins each Friday, until we accomplish a total of 100 dustbins".
Maahaa further said that a lot of changes were brought to the island with the inception of the movement, stating, "With the instalment of the dustbins, littering on pavements and on roads have drastically reduced. Before, pedestrians would walk on the roads as the pavements are cluttered with spills from discarded juice packets and other waste. Now, people are using the pavement more as well, as there is less litter".
"Overall the island has experienced a positive effect from the movement. One Friday, we collaborated with Ibra International School for an event, in order to increase enthusiasm amongst children and to increase parents' awareness. We held a session for these children, and they informed us that prior to the dustbins it was difficult, but now that there are proper waste disposal amenities, the situation is now a lot easier".