The government aims to stop burning waste on Thilafushi industrial island by the end of the year with a US$126 million project funded by the Asian Development Bank.
At a press briefing on Monday, Environment Minister Thoriq Ibrahim said that land will be reclaimed in Thilafushi, which is used as a ‘rubbish island’ containing the waste produced in the capital.
A waste management centre, waste transfer centre and a large incinerator will also be established to “initially destroy hazardous material such as medical waste”, he said, adding that no mechanism has been previously in place to deal with such waste.
“Work is ongoing to immediately stop waste burning in Thilafushi. Our target is to stop burning waste by the end of the year,” he said, referring to health issues affecting the residents of Malé due to smoke blowing over from the nearby island.
The per capita waste generation on Malé is estimated to be 1.7 kilos a day with an annual increase of four percent, and authorities have struggled to keep its streets free from litter and dumped garbage cans.
Thilafushi island, which is seven kilometres from Malé, stores the refuse produced in the capital and uses it as landfill, or the rubbish is burnt. Refuse collectors, predominantly expatriate workers, used to carry waste from households to the waste vessel.
As part of an increased effort to establish a waste management network on the capital island, the state-owned Waste Management Corporation began collecting refuse on Malé last year.