All schools in the Maldives will eliminate single use plastics by April, the education minister said Tuesday, with several schools already banning disposable plastics in their premises.
Minister Dr Aishath Shiham made the pledge at a school ceremony held in Villimalé to mark the end of a reef study and awareness program run by the ministry.
Single use plastics or disposable plastics are items like bags, straws, coffee stirrers, bottles and food packaging that are used once and thrown away.
“Since the start of March we have started work on eliminating single use plastics from all the schools. God willing, by the end of March, we will eliminate the use of disposable plastics,” Aishath said, according to Sun Online.
The minister said efforts were under way to find replacements for single use plastics, such as cloth bags.
Advocacy director for Ecocare Maldives, Maeed Mohamed Zahir, welcomed the pledge by the education minister.
“Reducing plastics especially bringing an end to single use plastic is necessary and having the initiative at school level is helpful to raise awareness and change behavioral patterns,” he told the Maldives Independent. “Schools can also work on limiting the amount of paper waste that is produced and have in-school composting practices to manage waste in-school.”
Parley for the Oceans, a US-based organisation that works to protect marine life, has been working with Maldivian resorts, schools and fishing vessels to collect up to 120 tonnes of plastic from the sea every month.
The plastic is shipped to recycling plants and turned into filament and then yarn or fabric.
In June last year, the Maldives announced a campaign by fishing vessels to intercept and collect ocean plastics from the country’s exclusive economic zone.