Report: A whole new meaning for “Protecting the enviroment”

Maldives accompanies the whole world in celebrating the Worlds Environment Day on June 5th. However, it seems many Maldivians are facing dissimilar emotions and experiences towards the day.

The change in the usual climate pattern is affecting every country on earth. Based on the lifestyles and current activities of humans, scientists have estimated that in the upcoming 50 years, the environmental changes are likely to cause an extensive amount of problems in the world.

Maldives is among the countries that will have the most negative impacts regarding the climate changes. 10 years ago, scientists warned that as the sea level rises, the entire country of Maldives may swamp and completely disappear. While the efforts to save our country from drowning in the past 15 years were carried out, the bitter truth is that Maldivians have carried out more activities that will likely contribute to destroying our environment.

The responsibility of each Maldivian to protect their country is only accomplished by a few Individuals.  Collecting sand and coral sands from the beach and coast is still a regular activity for Maldivians. Small islands in Maldives are already facing the threats of beach erosion even now.

Apart from the responsibilities of each citizen , the authorities of the Maldivian government have also shown negligence towards the environment in the name of modern development in the country. While the reefs are being used for land reclamation to build harbors, few activities have undergone in consideration with the environment. While negative impacts for such activities arise, such as coastal erosion and tidal waves, Maldivians are happily unconcerned about it.

Since the past 10-15 years, while some Maldivian islands have been sold, multiple reefs have been blown up and destroyed. Taking mass amounts of sand and pebbles from the coast, cutting down numerous amount of palm trees at once from lands are activities with no exact solutions up to date.

Negative impacts on the reef

The Sinamalé Bridge was constructed to research the negative impacts on the environment. However, when the bridge was built, the outer reef of Male’ suffered a greater loss than expected. While the Maldivian government had decided to built the Sinamalé Bridge to link the islands of Malé, Hulhulé and Hulhumalé, countless questions were raised on whether the government had thought thoroughly about the impacts on the reef surrounding the islands.

Moreover, after land reclamation of Gulhifalhu, the project in progress to change the Male’ local market located in the northern harbor of  Male’ to Gulhifalhu island by the government is said to likely cause severe consequences to the Gulhifalhu and Hulhumalé islands. Therefore, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) had attempted to debate against this project.

However, the government decided to move ahead with the reclamation of 30 hectares of land in Gulhifalhu as they do not have an eye to eye in this matter with the EPA and has also decided to turn a blind eye towards EPA and the concerned residents of Hulhumalé.

Along with the diving sites, the reefs surrounding Hulhumalé are damaged and the coasts of Hulhumalé has become muddy. The NGO of Save Maldives fears the marine life in the area may disappear due to this.

Removing palm trees

A sudden move of removing numerous palm trees from islands started when the islands and reefs were allowed to rent for building resorts.

Removing numerous palm trees at once not only causes trouble to the people living in the island, but also to the animals such as birds living in the area.

The president mentioned in his speech regarding the worlds environment day that the government will always look forward to keep the environment safe and protected.

However, it is noticed that even though there are many problems regarding the environment in different islands of Maldives at present, the required amount of attention is not provided by the government to protect the environment. The Maldivian government is a government that had applied for crimes of ecocide to be added to the International Criminal Jurisdiction claiming ecocide is equal to genocide.

Nevertheless, the fact that the government’s actions are not met by their words and the incapability to protect the environment by the government is a point to be highlighted on World Environment day. Maldivian citizens request the government to attend to the vows they have made to protect the environment before they were elected.

The environmental problems faced by Maldives can be completely resolved only when the government takes appropriate action towards the matter.