The island communities of Maalhos, Dharavandhoo and Kihaadhoo of Baa Atoll came together Tuesday in a pre-Ramadan clean-up in Kihaadhoo.
The ‘Fresh Start’ clean-up was organized by the island councils of Maalhos, Dharavandhoo and Kihaadhoo, and was supported by nearby Soneva Fushi resort.
The clean-up aimed to sort and remove the waste that had been piling up in Kihaadhoo's waste management centre over several months.
Volunteers segregated all the recyclable waste, in addition to clearing out hazardous garbage such as disposable nappies.
The volunteers included island council presidents, vice presidents, council members, waste management staff and volunteers from the three islands, as well as Soneva Fushi hosts.
“The garbage has been piling up at our waste management centre for over a year. It poses significant hygiene risks – it got so bad that we’ve had to burn the nappies in open bonfires, three or four times", Kihaadhoo Council President Ibrahim Fazeel said.
During the clean-up, all aluminium tins and bits of metal were segregated and packed into 20 jumbo bags. According to the organizers, the bags of metal will be transferred to Soneva Fushi’s ‘Eco-Centro waste-to-wealth centre’, where they will be compacted and recycled.
Moreover, an entire bay of Kihaadhoo waste management centre, where used nappies had been collecting for seven months, was completely cleaned out. These nappies were packed and will be sent to Thilafushi for safe disposal.
Soneva Fushi also brought a mobile glass crusher to Kihaadhoo, where cleaned glass were crushed to be taken to Soneva Fushi's Eco-Centro, where it will be mixed into concrete building blocks in a recycling attempt.
The clean-up was part of the ‘Namoona Baa’ initiative which was launched in February by the island council presidents of Maalhos, Dharavandhoo, and Kihaadhoo in partnership with Soneva, in response to the waste and plastic crisis spoiling the Maldivian environment.
The three island councils pledged to end open burning of island waste as part of the ‘Namoona Baa’ initiative, in a radical shift towards eco-friendly waste management. An Eco-Centro waste-to-wealth centre will be established on each island to sort, recycle and reuse island waste.
Soneva has pledged funds from its Soneva Namoona programme to support creating the Eco-Centros on Maalhos, Dharavandhoo, and Kihaadhoo. The first Eco-Centro is due to open in Maalhos this year. The open burning of garbage in Maalhos is expected to end shortly after the island’s Eco-Centro is fully operational.