Tourism head pledges action on waste management over fears for Maldives holiday image

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has pledged to take the “lead” in addressing waste management issues in Male’ should the city’s council and the Ministry of Environment and Energy fail to effectively deal with concerns about garbage.

Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb this week said that the issue of waste management posed an immense threat to tourism in the country, adding that his department would look to actively address the problem should other authorities fail to resolve ongoing concerns by next month.

The comments have been dismissed today as irresponsible by the Ministry of Environment, which favours greater levels of cooperation from Adheeb’s department and the wider tourism industry in how waste was dealt with in Male’ and the nearby island of Thilafushi.

Thilafushi, where the vast majority of waste from the country’s resorts and inhabited islands is deposed of, has become more commonly known ‘garbage island‘ by both local and international media.

Meanwhile, Male’ City Council (MCC) has alleged that it is not being provided sufficient funding from the 2013 state budget to deal with garbage levels in the capital.  This funding has been identified by the council as exacerbating the challenges it claims to be facing due to growing amounts of waste and outdated machinery used at the capital’s refuge sites.

This week, the council claimed it had been forced to shut one of the capital’s two waste disposal sites due to machinery at the site being inoperable – limiting the amount of garbage that can be handled at the site in recent days.

Taking the lead

On Monday (December 31, 2012) Tourism Minister Adheeb spoke of the present challenges facing waste management in the country, maintaining that a failure to try and solve current problems with the capital’s garbage would require his ministry to “take the lead” in clean up efforts.

Adheeb added that waste management was therefore expected to be a main focus of the Fourth Tourism Master Plan – scheduled at present to be released within the first quarter of 2013.

“One of the main issues which have a negative impact on the tourism industry at present is the issue of garbage: the sight of garbage floating in the sea, the sight of smoke from burning garbage as the flights descend to land. This has a very detrimental impact on value addition,” he stated.

According to Adheeb, user generated reviews on popular travel sites like TripAdvisor were now cautioning tourists to choose resorts where “smoke is not visible”, causing a loss to the many high-end resorts located near Male’ and Thilafushi.

“There is no way we can sustain tourism without solving the issue of waste management. We will wait till the end of February. If by then the Environment Ministry and the MCC are unable to deal with the issue, then we will take the lead, even if it means we will need to spend on it on a voluntary basis,” Adheeb said.

Waste management deal

The previous government of former President Mohamed Nasheed had signed a waste management agreement with India-based Tatva Global Renewable Energy back in May 2011 to implement a system designed to generate power from recycling waste.

The contract has been undergoing renegotiation with the current government as part of efforts to provide what it has called a more “mutually beneficial” agreement – a move slammed by the MCC, which had accused authorities of trying to “sabotage” the deal.

However, Adheeb this week was said he was critical of the effectiveness of previous methods of waste management being sought in the Maldives, as well as the attitudes of certain environmental activists.

“We need to learn to make do with taking just the basic steps. For example, when it comes to dealing with waste management, we aspire to turn it into gas or electricity immediately upon being burned, and then for it to be connected to Male’ and Hulhumale’ via submarine cables,” he said.

“Now if we are to have expectations as high as this, we will never be able to deal with the issue practically.”

Adheeb added that if people were concerned about the environment, they should equally consider the issue of waste management, claiming a failure to solve the issue would make it very difficult for the tourism industry to survive.

“Why not just take the basic steps and get rid of the waste?  Previous leaders have tried to make Maldives a leading name whenever the topic of environment comes up. But no real solutions were found in the past three or four years,” he said.

Adheeb also contended that the present focus of environmental activism within the country was proving detrimental to tourism development, as well as ignoring advances in construction techniques being used by the industry.

“From what we have seen, if we try to get an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) done for the purpose of beginning construction of a resort, the environmentalists suddenly get very concerned. Or if we try to reclaim land, then again the environment becomes so very important. But Hulhumale’ and Reethi Rah Resort are very good examples. In Maldives, even through reclamation, we can make things natural,” he said.


State Minister for Environment and Energy Abdul Matheen Mohamed stated today that while waste management issues could pose problems for the tourism sector, he believed it could be better managed and solved faster if the Tourism Ministry would provide more cooperation on related work.

“I don’t think Adheeb’s statement on taking initiative in waste management is a very responsible one. Since a lot of resorts take garbage to Thilafushi and end up dumping it into the sea,” he claimed.  “We have approached the Tourism Ministry with plans to place Environment Officers in resorts to monitor this. It would be good if that ministry would cooperate a bit more than they do now.”

Matheen confirmed that the negotiations with Tatva over a new deal on the previously agreed waste management project had now been concluded. He said that a final decision would be reached after it is submitted for the Economic Committee’s approval this coming week.

Aside from future projects to better manage waste, Male’ City Councillor Mohamed Abdul Kareem today claimed that the municipal council has not been allocated sufficient funds for waste management work in the 2013 budget passed last month by parliament.

Karrem claimed that the council had this week already been temporarily forced to facilitate alternative methods of shifting large amounts of garbage after Waste Disposal Site Number 2 in the capital was closed owing to machinery failure.

“We have managed to reopen the site today, after having cleared up the place again. One of our biggest concerns for this year ahead of us is that the state has not provided our council with any funds to deal with this issue of waste management,” Kareem stated.


In a direct response today to Adheeb’s comments, Male’ City Mayor ‘Maizan’ Ali Manik alleged that the waste management issue had been delayed owing to negligence on the part of the current government.

“Adheeb belongs to the group of people who are extremely good at ‘taking over’ everything, so there is not much we can do if he ends up taking over waste management work. However, if all goes accordingly, Tatva will commence work in March,” he said.

Manik further stated that although it was MCC that had initially signed the contract with Tatva, the Ministry of Environment had now taken over and was proceeding with discussions with the company without involving the council.

Manik said that the council had had some discussions with the Ministry previously, where they had pledged support to the project.


15 thoughts on “Tourism head pledges action on waste management over fears for Maldives holiday image”

  1. i have to agree with the mcc view,this adheebh guy is all bluster without any practical solution

  2. Male' city council is useless institution and they are occupied in promoting Nahseed and his agenda.

    They have not been doing anything which they should be doing. All what they are doing to promote Nasheed and then find deals to get bribes for themselves.

    One of the most corrupt people in Maldives are these people and they openly is asking for money from people to get things done through the council.

    They are not even able to clean Male' and then how can they do anything in Thilafushi.

    These people have failed miserably in executing in their jobs and they are bunch of jokers sitting there.

  3. You Maldivians are so unclean.
    India is a lot cleaner....

    India is 100 percent clean.
    Not a spec of dirt in our country...and our people are hygenic. Your women are ugly and men are disgusting.
    India is ethnically superior to your country and its gigantic waste dumps

    With such inferior waste management, tourists should come to incredible india, where higher caste hindus run the hotels and lower caste hindus serve you as servants

  4. Misindia.

    Either you are person from Maldives or you have been living in this country for many years and you job I guess is to create friction between the two country and its people.

    You seems to be part of this country and your affiliation towards Nasheed is quite known here.

    May be you are one of the person who had benefited through the GMR deal.

  5. Resort owners should pay a Waste Tax and reduce their massive profits! They cannot think longer term than their pinky finger.

  6. Tour operators/airlines should , like Swiss Edelweiss Airlines does, encourage tourist to bring back with them on flight back home as much problematic non recycling garbage by providing on their onward trip a fecycling back for each passenger to collect during their stay and bring bck to the airport for freevtransportation back on return floght !. I know this is is a small contribution, but multiplied by the no of visitors, this is certainly a substantial result to be achieved. In addition, despite being a regular visitor to the Maldives, I am also in favor of a waste tax on stay, providing a tight control is made on funds usage

  7. "Male’ city council is useless institution and they are occupied in promoting Nahseed and his agenda.
    They have not been doing anything which they should be doing. All what they are doing to promote Nasheed and then find deals to get bribes for themselves."

    This is the closest truth can get to the reality of this very council being deprived of getting access to funds needed to run the city as required! Alas!

    @mody! You must be really thick and heavy on to one side!

    And yes, the only person who can bring all these to normal must be the mentor of Mr. X!

  8. What Maldives should be doing is, looking into ways to reduce waste -> reduce food waste, stop buying items with ally those packaging, stop renewing your gadgets every month, stop buying so-called "mineral water" (just RO water) in plastic bottles and start drinking from the tap! Make the "Neelan Fihaara" better, organize it so that people can exchange their reusable items.

  9. resort owners and all business community should pay everything in this country. All politician should eat all the public money.

    Then druggist should be given free everything.

    What a country ?

  10. @Hazard

    Really good ideas bro, I think they should look into recycling also

  11. The City council is a joke.

    In regard to the Local governments request to send a provisional budget for 2013, or a statement / summary of their activities conducted, the City council is stating that Council failed to send the reports because the Local Government failed to assist them "technically".

    This was in spite of the Local Government Authority sending the council a "template", and a detailed explanation step by step explaining how to create the report.

    What a joke. Even a Grade 8 graduate who has basic accounting knowledge would be able to compile this.

    Then again, it must have been the LGA's fault. Because they failed to give the councillor's TRAINING IN EXCEL FIRST. And given them TRAINING TO USE A COMPUTER as well.

    All those ipads bought with public tax money and the Councillors don't even have the competency to compile a report in Excel.

    Of course, simply opening a spreadsheet in Excel must have given the illiterate Councillors a headache.

  12. Having visited the Maldives dozens of times and can honestly say you are all to blame for the state of your country. There is rubbish on the streets, empty water bottles in the gutters and cigeratte ends discarded all over the place and not one litter bin being used because the floor is more convienant to the lazy litter louts. Waste management starts with everyone not just those whose job it is to collect. Look at your own habits before trying to solving the main issue.

  13. It's nou doubt garbage has become a major issue in the Maldives ; been here for thehe last 16 years and everytime is worse , the image of the Male island is not only the problem , it's the sea surface , most inhabited islands ... taxes are to cover those matters and gst + bed taxes should be paying the image (bad image) we are projecting from male airport arrival onwards ... cleanning service (land and sea) are the start but the most important is the education and here should emphasize the Maldivian Government.

  14. Again we salute the great PPM leader the gloriously great Gayoom for having the world’s most competent Tourism Minister in the whole world to handle the greatest tourism industry in the whole world, which is Maldives.

  15. the whole of the article or adeeba did not speak about the contamination in IGMH once a vessel filled with garbage sets sail from Male barge area.. If you stay in IGMH in any of the floors, the smell of rotting food, rotting everything flows into the hospital as if they are inside the hospital.. i even puke when the smell comes in.. cant imagine what else comes in with the wind other than the smell... getting sick they say


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