Residents of Laamu Gan demonstrated today over the island’s damaged sewage system which has remained unfixed for the past two months.
The system at fault is located in the new settlement of the tsunami-displaced population that moved to Gan from Mundoo and Kalhaidhoo islands in 2007.
It was funded and established by the International Federation of Red Cross Societies (IFRC) as part of their tsunami recovery work before being handed over to the government of Maldives upon completion.
According to the council, no one has since taken ownership of the system and it has remained abandoned and without any maintenance. The Ministry of Housing has earlier said the damages to the system was caused by vandals.
The damaged system has been causing sewage waste to spill into the island, particularly during wet weather. In June the council expressed concern over the issue, alerting authorities and the media.
“The pumps in the system are not working, and the [septic] tank is also damaged. So when sewage effluent gathers in the tank it overflows and spills out. But this has got worse with the rainy season, the waste is being carried across the island through the puddles,” Council President Ahmed Salah told Minivan News at the time.
“Sometimes it is overflowing from the toilets, leaving houses and rooms filled with waste.”
The council had proposed to join the system with a new MVR85 million sanitation facility being established in Gan for areas which previously did not have any such facilities. However, experts said it was not possible as the two systems are incompatible.
Gan council subsequently managed the situation by using a mobile tank, donated with the sewage system, to drain the waste into the sea. The process takes around 20-30 rounds to drain it to a usable level after each spill, explained the council at the time.
After repeated requests from the government and ministries, including a special visit to Malé to meet the heads of institutions, the Ministry of Environment and Energy awarded the operation and maintenance of the sewerage system to FENAKA Corporation Ltd on July 21.
The US$1.8 million project will be implemented under International Federation of Red cross and Red Crescent Societies loan, Minivan News was unable to contact FENAKA at the time of publication