Are efforts to keep Malé City clean going to waste?

“As we increase our efforts to clean Malé, the amount of garbage dumped on to the street is also increasing,” said Mayor Mohamed Shihab.

The purpose of cleaning Malé’s streets and providing public dustbins – for which 260 people are now employed – is not to collect household waste, but to clean up litter, the Mayor tells Minivan News.

It is important to cultivate a habit of keeping the streets clean and using trash bins in the community, he said, suggesting that the implementation of laws was also required to address the issue.

However, keeping the streets free from litter is just the tip of the rubbish pile explains Shihab, revealing the difficulties the council continues to face in finding a sustainable way to manage the capital’s waste.


The waste management regulation which came into partial force on February 5 imposes an MVR100 (US$6.5) fine for littering and a fine between MVR10,000 (US$ 648.5) and MVR100,000 (US$6,485) if any authority in charge of public spaces fails to provide dustbins.

The regulations also require boat owners to place dustbins on sea vessels, imposing a maximum fine of MVR100 million (US$6.5 million) on boats that dump waste into the ocean.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Ahmed Murthaza – assistant director at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – said that no one had yet been fined under the regulation.

The main focus of the EPA up to now has been to create awareness and to advise offenders to correct their actions, although he warned that the agency would start imposing the fines beginning on World Environment Day (5 June 2014).

The EPA will be working with councils and the Environmental Police Unit in implementing the regulation – all of whom are authorised to issues fines.

Waste management

Mayor Shihab has suggested a long term solution for the issue would be the door to door collection of household waste.

“This is is how it is done everywhere around the world. And in all countries, they charge a fee for the service.”

“So in the future the council will be collecting and disposing the garbage. This will be discussed. Even now each house is spending money, 100 or 200 rufiyaa, monthly for this purpose.”

Most households in Malé currently employ garbage collectors – usually migrant workers – who carry the garbage on their bicycles or private pick-up trucks. This garbage is then carried dumped on a barge in the island’s south-west harbor, which then transports it to the landfill ‘garbage island’ of Thilafushi.

This arrangement, however, was intended to be a temporary one initiated in 2013 after garbage piled up in Malé’s two primary waste yards following damage to the collection vehicles.

While the industrial junk yard is once again in use today, the household waste yard remains abandoned as its foundation structure is damaged to a point that it would be harmful for the environment to utilise the place without funding from a reluctant Finance Ministry, explained Shihab

According to the council, the current arrangement will remain in place during the Islamic month of Ramadan – beginning on June 30 – when the household waste produced can be expected to double.

According to shipping industry sources, an estimated 15- 20 percent increase in imported goods is expected during Ramadan.

Environment Ministry data from 2007 put daily food waste produced in Malé at approximately 25 tonnes, while 2012 statistics indicated that 89,797 tonnes of domestic waste was dumped on Thilafushi annually.

“Dumping waste on to the barge was a temporary measure, but this operation will continue in Ramadan with more barges. Instead of keeping a huge pile of waste in Malé, we will work to transport it as soon as possible,”  explained councillor Shamau Shareef.

Tatva solution

For the council, the immediate hope for a solution to Malé waste management is in India-based Tatva Global Renewable Energy.

The Tatva agreement has faced delays after the government of President Dr Mohamed Waheed renegotiated the agreement signed by his predecessor Mohamed Nasheed in 2011.

The new agreement, which will not include collection of garbage from household in its first phase, now requires the final approval of the Finance Ministry to begin operations.

Under the Tatva agreement, the council’s equipment – including trucks and excavators – has to be to handed over to Tatva in working condition. However, as the council’s equipment has been damaged for over a year, funds are needed for repairs before the handover.

“Our concern is that the government is spending MVR7 million [monthly] to rent this equipment, such as excavators, landing craft, and the barge. This money belongs to the people,” said Shihab.

Suggesting that the council could get the same results for just MVR2-3million, he said that the ministry had repeatedly ignored requests for repair funds.

The existing arrangement must be replaced with permanent and sustainable solution, said the mayor, noting that the smell alone from the garbage barge was becoming unpleasant for people living in the vicinity.

Minivan News was unable to obtain a comment from Ministry of Finance at the time of press.


12 thoughts on “Are efforts to keep Malé City clean going to waste?”

  1. oh please shihab you have no right to say people's money when the very first to waste people's money are the counsellors themselves, doing nothing. I see you counsellors spending most of office hours going to coffees and cigarette breaks. especially the yellow party ones. care to explain that?

  2. there needs to be a mechanism to implement this and antismoking laws? remember how anni and his party were reluctant to sign this into a bill?

  3. MDP don't run the show anymore and haven't been in charge since Feb 2012. So Klyfer and the rest need to get out of their coffee shops, whore houses, etc. and get to work. Work? uh dho? Work is a foreign concept, literally. Nothing will get done and the rubbish will keep stacking up here in paradise.

  4. Hey Still MDP thugs are controlling Male' city council. Don't try to fool the people.

    Council members are known for corruption

  5. Gayoom is also known for corruption and torture. What is your point Hero?

  6. Why aren't there wastebins on Hulhumale' and Villingili? Can we please all just pick up after ourselves, not dump rubbish all over the place? Yes, pieces of paper, sweet wrappings, empty cans, supari packets and cigarette butts are all rubbish too! You wouldn't need to walk too far to find a dustbin, put your rubbish in your pocket or handbags or just carry them with you and dump them in the bins when you get home if you can't find one on the go.

  7. there is only way to stop this. give hefty fines for who those do not abide the law just like in singapore.

  8. @wate of time. What is your point here ? You think just writing some nonsense here there will bring back your Thug leader back to power ?

  9. My point is that PPM is just as corrupt as MDP. Why aren't you concerned with PPM corruption?

    What is your level of education? I find it astounding that someone who knows so little can write so much useless crap in these comment sections.

  10. I find it amusing that waste of time writes incredibly ignorant comments always. not so smart eh

  11. @klyfer

    Please quote my exact statements that you consider "ignorant". Then explain what makes them ignorant. Just because you don't agree with what I write, doesn't make my statements "not so smart eh".

    Now that you're getting personal, what is your academic background and work experience? I'm curious to know the details of your distinguished academic and career path.

  12. waste of time on Sat, 24th May 2014 2:51 PM

    Please ignore Klyfer, the man is a parasite of posts. Split personality with many names such as Hero, Kurbee and the latest creation Klyfer.

    All with the same writing style and bad spelling mistakes, with continuous rants of fictional facts that only exist inside his head.


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