The environment ministry signed a contract on Tuesday to procure a landfill compactor to stop the open burning of garbage on Thilafushi industrial island near the capital.
The MVR9.6million (US$623,480) contract was signed with the state-owned Maldives Transport and Contracting Company.
The compactor will be used to compress waste so that it could be stored for longer periods without the need for open burning, Environment Minister Dr Hussain Rasheed Hassan told reporters after the signing ceremony. It is expected to be in use by February 2020, he said.
In October, Dr Hussain told the parliament that the government planned to stop open burning in 2020.
Fumes from Thilafushi cause smog in Malé and its suburb island of Vilimalé when the wind blows from the west in the south-west monsoon.
The environment ministry also wants to buy more heavy machinery including waste segregators. The government’s plan is to build a fully-functional waste management facility in Thilafushi within the next four years.
The capital and more than 30 surrounding islands and resorts in the central atolls – home to half the population – generate 774 tons per day of mixed solid waste, which is dumped and openly burned on Thilafushi, creating “an environmental and public health hazard,” according to the Asian Development Bank, which last year granted US$35 million for an environment-friendly waste management project in the Greater Malé region.
This is the amount of waste occupying the Thilafushi landfill; over 14,000,000 cubic feet of waste. An additional 21,000 cubic feet of waste goes to the landfill each day. Our waste footprint per capita is is 2 to 3 times that of other urban areas around the world. #SaveMaldives pic.twitter.com/5vw1Dl6Hm9
— WAMCO (@WAMCOmv) September 26, 2019
— Ministry of Environment (@MoEnvmv) November 25, 2019