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ADB approves US$33 mn grant for Maldives waste project

Greater Malé and nearby local islands generate 774 tons of mixed solid waste daily.



A US$33 million grant for a solid waste management project in the Maldives was Friday approved by the Asian Development Bank.

Littering and trash is a particular issue in the capital Malé, which is home to around 40 percent of the country’s population. Garbage can be seen heaped on the streets and the city council’s deputy mayor Shamau Shareef has described the capital as “contaminated.”

Greater Malé and its inhabited outer islands lack an organized and sustainable waste management system for the 774 tons per day of mixed solid waste that the area currently generates, the ADB said.

“Open dumping and burning of garbage in the area also pose environmental and public health hazards, compromising air quality, as well as contaminating soil and groundwater,” it added.

The total cost of the solid waste management project is US$40 million, said the ADB, with the government providing US$4.93 million. It is expected to be completed by the first half of 2023.

Earlier this year the Maldives said it had secured US$165 million from various donors for a waste management project, including the ADB, but it is not clear if the $33 million is part of that.

Nor is it clear if the US$33 million is part of the US$126 million for an ADB-backed project in Thilafushi, which is nicknamed ‘rubbish island’ because it is where waste is burned or dumped.

The state waste management company WAMCO began waste collection services in the capital in August last year in a renewed effort to tackle the long-standing trash problem. It later expanded to cover the suburbs and two southernmost atolls.

Photo: Shamau Shareef