A clean up project took place yesterday (May 10) in the Maldvies Baa Atoll – the Maldives’ first certified UNESCO biosphere reserve.
The clean up of Hanifaru Island and Hanifu reef maintenance was carried out by a large group of volunteers from within the reserve – including local councillors, police officers, and resort workers.
Baa Atoll was officially launched as a Biosphere Reserve in June 2012 by former President Dr Mohamed Waheed.
Obtaining the status of UNESCO biosphere resulted in significnant funding for the atoll, with the UNDP handing over a cheque for US$250,000 as a contribution to the fund at the opening ceremony.
Tourist resorts in Baa Atoll, including Soneva Fushi, Coco Palm, Four Seasons, and Anantara and several other resorts have also pledged donations.
The Baa Atoll Conservation Fund will be used to finance projects to conserve the environment in the atoll as well to support livelihood activities.
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) coordinates a world network of over 500 biospheres, which are designated as areas of conservation and innovative sustainable development.
In a recent statement from the Biosphere Reserve Office, the organisers extended their gratitude to everyone who helped with the clean up, assuring that together they can achieve the common goal of managing the reserve.
Participants in the cleanup of Hanifaru included those from the atoll council, Eydhafushi Island Council, Baa Atoll Education Centre, the Maldives Police Services, and Baa Atoll Hospital. The Hanifaru reef cleanup and maintenance was undertaken by Four Seasons, Seamarc, Reathbeach Resort, Dusit Thani, Seasplash, and Kihaad Maldives.