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Resort accused of dumping garbage at sea

A widely shared video shows a boat crew dumping several bags into the ocean.



A video showing a boat crew dumping several bags of garbage into the ocean has been widely shared on Facebook and Twitter.

The small dhoni in the 44-second video allegedly belongs to a resort operated by a prominent local company.

Ibrahim Naeem, director general of the Environment Protection Agency, told the  Maldives Independent on Wednesday that the watchdog was looking into the case.

An investigation has not been launched yet as the EPA was trying to verify details of the incident, he said.

The Maldives is signatory to an international convention that prohibits dumping of waste at sea, with the exception of some material such as sewage sludge and organic waste.

But anecdotal evidence suggests that dumping waste into the sea is common in the Maldives.

In June, the tourism ministry vowed to take action against resorts that violate environmental regulations after photos published on Facebook showed dozens of rubbish bags discarded on the beach of an uninhabited island under the Dhigufaru Resort management.

But the resort claimed the rubbish was awaiting collection for transport to a waste disposal site. The transport was delayed due to weather conditions, the resort said.

Last month, the EPA instructed the Maamigili island council to cease an arrangement that allowed the nearby LUX South Ari Atoll resort to dump and burn garbage at the island’s waste site.

It was illegal for resorts to dump garbage on local islands, the EPA reminded the council.

Under a 2006 regulation on the protection and conservation of the environment, tourist establishments that break the law face a fine of between MVR1,000 and MVR10,000 (US$65 and US$649). Repeat offenders are liable to a fine of MVR50,000 and MVR100,000. Further violations could result in the ministry revoking the perpetrator’s licence to operate.