All thirteen island councils, the three lawmakers, and many of the leading resorts in Baa Atoll signed and released an open letter Thursday, appealing to the government to impose a nationwide ban on single-use plastic bottles, bags and straws.
The open letter, addressed to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, warned that Maldives was "in danger of becoming another Bali", describing the latter as "a once-pristine, tropical tourist paradise ruined by plastic litter".
“The Maldives is awash with plastic pollution, with single-use water and cola bottles littering the roads, beaches and lagoons, and plastic bags getting caught up in the coral reefs. Meanwhile, with no proper waste disposal, every local island in the country burns plastic waste in poisonous bonfires", read the letter.
The signatories highlighted that tackling the problem of plastic pollution was one of the key electoral pledges of the current administration.
"We would like to support the president as he delivers on his promise", they wrote.
“Please impose a national ban on single-use plastic bags, bottles and straws, which are needlessly tarnishing our beautiful country, and damaging the tourism industry upon which we all depend".
The signatories include the presidents of all thirteen island councils of Baa Atoll, MPs Hisaan Hussein, Ali Hussein and Ahmed Saleem who represent Baa Atoll constituencies in parliament, and major resorts including Soneva Fushi, Amilla Fushi, Finolhu, Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, Anantara Kihavah, Four Seasons at Landaa Giraavaru and Dhigufaru Island Resort.
Reportedly, over 280,000 plastic water bottles are used daily in the capital city of Male’, while 104 million non-biodegradable plastic bags were imported into the country in 2018.
Noting that the President’s Office, government ministries and state-owned enterprises recently banned the use of single-use plastic bottles, the collective's plea for a nation-wide ban follows examples set by various other countries such as Kenya, Vanuatu and France, which have also taken significant steps to phase out single-use plastics.
Scientific bodies unanimously agree that Maldives is one of the countries most vulnerable to effects of climate change and the nation's representatives have pledged to be an example to the world on the issue on numerous occasions.