National campaign against plastics “PlastikaaNulaa” launched

Plastic waste at the beach, a regular occurrence in the Maldives | Photo: Parley

Malé, Maldives – National campaign against the use of single-use plastic products by the name “PlastikaaNulaa” translating to ‘WithoutPlastic’ under the attempts of the government to find a solution for single-use plastic products in the country has been launched.

The campaign was officially launched by the Environment Minister of Maldives, Dr. Hussain Rasheed Hassan through a virtual program that was held yesterday.

In the launching event held for this event, a policy presentation was released by the Environment Ministry regarding the “Single-use Plastic Faceout Plan” that the ministry has been preparing which highlights that things that are currently happening are planned to happen in the near furture under the Single-use Plastic Faceout Plan of the government.

The Environment Ministry stated that this campaign is a multi-sectorial awareness campaign that can be carried out with the help of different sectors of the government along with the civil association.

Under this campaign, the general public will be fully enlightened with the things that can be done to establish the “Single-use Plastic Faceout Plan’ such as the changes that can be brought through the law and methods that can be used to change the lifestyle without including the use of plastics through different type of events.

Th Government of Maldives decided on November 5, 2020 to ban the import of certain single use plastics, deemed as such by the President starting from June 1st of 2021. The amendment was passed by the Parliament of Maldives at the 28th ‎sitting of its ‎third session, on 7th December 2020. 

As per the amendment, the President has categorised and published 12 categories of single use plastics in the Government Gazette today, import of which are to be banned in Maldives starting from the specified date.

Items declared as single use plastics by the President

  • Plastic drinking straw
  • Single-use plastic-based plates, cutleries and stirrers.
  • Styrofoam lunch box
  • Plastic shopping bags below 30×30 cm (including oxo-degradable and synthetic polymer based biodegradable plastics)
  • Plastic shopping bags below 50-micron thickness (including oxo degradable and synthetic polymer based biodegradable plastics)
  • Imported sweet areca nuts in plastic wrapping
  • Single-use plastic cups below 250ml
  • Cotton buds with plastic stems
  • Shampoo and soap bottles in plastic packaging that are 50 ml and below
  • Shampoo and soap bottles in plastic packaging from 50 ml to 200 ml
  • All imported beverages in PET bottles below 500 ml (water, carbonated and non-carbonated drinks)
  • All imported water that is 01 liter and below packed in P.E.T packaging

In addition to the items, import of which are to banned from June 1st, 2021, this list also includes items which are to be banned from December’s of 2022 and 2023. While the banning of these items has attracted the attention of many, the Government aims to steadily phase out single-use plastic with the implementation of this amendment.

Phasing out the use of SUPs in the Maldives is one of the Government’s key environmental pledges. During the first 100 days following his inauguration, President Solih launched a campaign to minimize SUP-use in the President’s Office, where he noted the use of SUPs in the Maldives had been at an alarmingly high level as researches show that if current trends continue, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050.