Letter on Thilafushi pollution

We appreciate the efforts all of you have contributed in reporting news and events all over the country. Your reports on politics, social welfare, education, environment are well covered and appreciated, however, there are various key areas that the media has been lax in exploiting.

I live close to the new police complex in Galolhu, and just like hundreds of other people, I go jogging at the track close by every day. If you pay a visit to the track around 7:30pm when all the lights on the track are lit, you will see the whole sky whitened with a fog. TOXIC SMOKE from the burning of garbage on Thilaafushi.

It is becoming impossible to use the track and the football grounds between 6:00pm and 11:00pm due to this air pollution, in addition to the excruciating garbage smell from ‘the Male waste collection yard next to the grounds. Air pollution in Male is at unacceptable level, and presumably it is due to mis-management of waste in Male and in Thilaafushi through prevailing means of disposal. The public is exposed to excessive toxic fumes, and more worrying and annoying is to see small school kids engaged in athletics while at the same time inhaling all the toxic residues.

A closer look at the water on the beaches in Thilaafushi it is contaminated with all kind of toxins. The amount of insects and pests ranging from rodents, flies is extremely too much and resorts close by are facing the worst fly infestations ever. Food poisoning due to contaminated fish is a common thing on Thilaafushi, and also in Male. Irrespective of government advice, fishermen still get fish from polluted reefs and waters surrounding Thilafushi and Male’.

Media is one of the strongest means of public awareness and communication. As you continue educating the public on waste management and proper sanitation, we request you to expose facts on negligence or improper management of waste, relay public concerns over health risks connected to this pollution, and maybe start a campaign to ban the sale of fish taken from waters surrounding Thilaafushi and Male’.

Hospitals and clinics are full with people suffering from bacterial and viral illnesses. Ecoli is already reported last week, dengue is on the rise, and surprisingly, Maldives has seen the deaths of very young kids and teenagers to chronic cancers, and illnesses related to lungs, kidney, liver, etc. I mean, as a concerned parent it worries me not to know reasons for such. Probably its time the government invests or seeks professional assistance in research on ‘the health side effects of living around air polluted environment for long. What could be the problems that may arise decades later or are the medical issues faced today related to this pollution?

Please take some time and visit the jogging track any evening after 7:30 to experience it for yourself. Once again, thank you for all the media work.

Edward, a concerned resident of Male’