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Nationwide cleanup programme launched

President Solih launched the campaign as pledged in his first 100-day action plan.



President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih launched Saturday morning a nationwide clean-up programme as pledged in his first 100-day action plan.

The president joined senior government officials in sweeping up trash around the Maafannu sports complex in the capital. Members of civil society organisations and local businesses were also among the participants with Malé and its island suburbs divided into several zones.

Littering and trash is a particular issue in the overcrowded capital where garbage can often be seen heaped on the streets. The state waste management company began collection services in August last year in a renewed effort to tackle the long-standing trash problem.

Appealing for a minimal-waste lifestyle in his remarks at the launching ceremony, President Solih observed that household waste mostly consisted of single-use plastic such as packets and bags rather than organic waste.

“Waste disposal is a big social problem facing each island of the Maldives. As the solution to all such problems begin with individuals, the role and responsibility of individuals in this is very big,” he said.

“Garbage is spilling out to the beach, reef and lagoons due to the lack of mechanisms to safely dispose of waste produced on the island.”

Introducing an environment-friendly method of waste disposal was an important aim of his administration, he noted.

The Maldives could not reap the benefits of its natural beauty and pristine environment without keeping islands clean, he stressed, noting that the country boasted the world’s seventh largest coral reef system.

Malé City Mayor Shifa Mohamed urged government offices and companies to set aside one day of the month to clean up the congested capital island.

The per capita waste generation in Malé is estimated to be 1.7kg per day with an annual increase of four percent.

Waste collected from the capital is transported to the nearby landfill island of Thilafushi, where it is stockpiled and usually incinerated.

According to the environment ministry, some 255,826 metric tonnes of solid waste was generated in Malé in 2014, a 155 percent increase over the preceding decade.