Various multilateral donors have pledged funds for a massive waste management project in the Greater Malé region, the finance ministry announced Sunday night.
Finance Minister Ahmed Munawar secured US$165 million as financing – including “10-13 percent as government contribution” – during meetings held at the sidelines of the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank’s board of governors last week.
The waste management project “aims to provide an eco-friendly solution to waste disposal in the [capital] region,” which houses nearly 40 percent of the country’s population.
The co-financiers include the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and the Japan Fund for the Joint Crediting Mechanism.
Some US$40 million was secured from the ADB for the first phase of the project following successful negotiations that concluded in Malé on May 2.
“The first phase aims to take immediate steps to contain the open burning in Thilafushi while Phase 2 of this project includes the establishment of a state-of-the-art waste management facility in Thilafushi, with technology to convert waste to energy,” the ministry explained.
The first phase is expected to launch in July.
“The government is confident that open burning in Thilafushi can be prevented once and for all by the end of this year, with the implementation of Phase 1 of the project. Additionally, the government will begin reclaiming 10 hectares of land in Thilafushi in early May, for the project. Phase 2 of the project is expected to begin implementation in early 2019.”
Environment Minister Thoriq Ibrahim said in January that a waste management centre, waste transfer centre and a large incinerator will be established to “initially destroy hazardous material such as medical waste” as 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.