President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih states that everyone has an obligation to protect the environment and ensure the future of our children.
This was made clear during his presidential address at the Peoples Majlis’ inaugural sitting on Thursday morning.
As such, he stated, “As long as people live on the Maldives, it’s their responsibility to protect the environment.” To ensure that future generations can enjoy the beautiful white sandy beaches, lagoons and reefs of the Maldives.
President Solih stated that government puts equal importance on protecting the environment and economic growth. The Climate Emergency Act was ratified by the President and became effective in 2021.
The government will also submit another bill on waste management, to the Peoples Majlis, during this tenure in an attempt to strengthen the legislative framework that affects the environment.
He also noted that there is no safe way to dispose of waste in the Greater Mal Region and the entire Maldives. He added that Thilafushi was established as a waste disposal facility to combat the growing problem of Maldives’ waste, despite all the best intentions, over 30 years ago.
He described this as a major relief to the citizens of the capital.
President Solih revealed that open burning in Thilafushi for waste management was stopped in September 2021, and that the island is now free from harmful gases.
The president stated that safer ways to dispose of waste, such as those found in Thilafushi will be expanded to 64 islands in the near future.
The president also announced that the Maldives had stopped the import, production, and consumption of 13 single-use plastics.
The president approved the plan to eliminate single-use plastics from the Maldives by 2023. This was done during November 2020. The 18th amendment to the Maldives Export-Import Act was passed by the Peoples Majlis in December 2020. The president then ratified the legislation the following month.
The amendment gave the president the power to compile and publicly publish a list containing prohibited goods from being imported to Maldives. Additionally, the president could add or remove items from the list. The amendment gives the government the authority to compile and publish a list of banned single-use materials, along with the date when the changes will take effect, prior to January 1, 2021.
After students from several schools submitted a proposal detailing the dangers of single use plastic, Parliament passed a resolution in mid-2019 to ban single-use plastics from Maldives starting in 2025.
In December 2018, the president launched an initiative to eliminate single use plastic. The government’s vision to eliminate single-use plastics in the Maldives by 2023 was first announced during Solih’s maiden trip to New York for the 74th session United Nations General Assembly.
It was introduced at the session and reiterated by the incumbent governments 2019-2023 Strategic Action Plan. This plan (SAP), envisages Maldives’ waters being free of plastic pollution by 2023.
Solih’s first 100-day pledge was to reduce single-use plastics. Many government institutions, restaurants, and cafes have stopped using plastic since the Solih administration was in power.