Environment Ministry against importing waste, to submit for amendment after ratification

Mountain of waste at K. Thilafushi. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Hayyan)

Environment Ministry has revealed that they are against the clause in the Waste Management Bill which allows import of waste from foreign countries to Maldives.

Article 44 of the Waste Management Bill which was passed by the Parliament on November 28 states that waste may be imported to the Maldives under a regulation formulated by the Environment Ministry.

The bill which was submitted on behalf of the government initially said that import of waste to Maldives was prohibited. The change was brought by the parliament during committee stages, citing the importance of waste to many countries, for generation of electricity.

Many environmental organizations have expressed concern over the clause. State Minister for Environment Ali Solih told Sun on Thursday that the clause was included in the bill without support from the Ministry – expressing concern that the bill had been passed with the clause.

Waste bags at K. Thilafushi. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Hayyan)

“This is a prominent law that would address the issues with respect to waste management. It is a very important law. After the president’s ratification of the bill, efforts will commence amending the clauses in the bill that requires alteration. The Minister has stated that the government will submit to amend the clause to the parliament,” he detailed.

The Committee included the clause stating that citing the possibility of Maldives facing a shortage of waste as the country considers pursuing power generation from waste.

A joint statement released by 17 organizations including Zero Waste Maldives, Save Maldives Campaign and Transparency Maldives expressing concern over the clause read that despite the bill dealing with a number of serious national issues, no environmental organizations were consulted regarding the bill before it was passed.

They also emphasized on the financial and technical burden of waste-to-energy projects.

K. Thilafushi. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Hayyan)

The organizations made three demands to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. They are;

  • Sending back the Waste Management Bill without ratification
  • Extended public discussions regarding the concerns raised by the organizations to find comprehensive solutions
  • Formulation of regulations to ensure that foreign contractors and companies cannot turn Maldives into a waste dumping site

Commenting regarding the matter, the President’s Office’s Spokesperson Miuvaan Mohamed said that the government does not support the clause, in light of the current situation of the Maldivian environment. Emphasizing that the bill includes many clauses that are pertinently needed at the moment – Miuvaan said that the bill will be submitted for amendment to the parliament after ratification.