Maldives has had to face a growing challenge in managing its solid waste and associated environmental, economic and social issues. This situation is even worse in small islands due to the size of the island communities, insufficient infrastructure and waste transportation difficulties, absence of sufficient budget and appropriate cost recovery system, lack of institutional capacity, weak regulation, limited opportunities for private sector involvement in service delivery, lack of public awareness and participation. As a result, most of the waste generated on the islands are disposed onto the island foreshore or burnt at low combustion temperatures.
Considering these issues, the Ministry of Environment (ME) in partnership with the IGES Centre Collaborating with UNEP on Environmental Technologies (CCET) in collaboration with United Nations Environment Programme - International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) and with the financial support from the Ministry of Environment Japan (MOEJ) has developed a Regional Waste Management Strategy and Action Plan for zone 6, including Huvadhoo Atoll and its 18 island councils in consultation with the respective island councils, civil society organisations and other stakeholders. It aims to build capacity for sustainable waste management and promote the development of conducive implementation framework and strategic actions at regional and island levels moving from conventional linear thinking and practice on waste management (collect, transport and disposal) to sustainable waste management based on waste hierarchy and the 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle). It also aimed at addressing key issues, needs and challenges in implementing the National Waste Management Policy at regional and island levels whilst raising awareness amongst key stakeholders, including island councils and citizen groups towards achieving a resource efficient and zero waste society.
The Regional Waste Management Strategy and Action Plan identifies some priority strategies and practical actions to be achieved during next five year (2019-2023) period, including (i) at the island level to maximize public awareness, waste separation, proper collection, composting and temporary storage of recyclables and residuals; and (ii) at the regional level to improve appropriate technologies and infrastructure, sustainable financial system, institutional building and private sector involvement.