Leading Maldives resort fires diver for exposing illegal waste dumping

Waste allegedly dumped into the ocean by Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa | Photo: Igbal Bilal

Malé, Maldives – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has started investigating the illegal waste dumping by a leading luxury resort in the Maldives.

A diver, Iqbal Bilal employed at the Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa uncovered the resort dumping large bags of waste into the ocean further away from the resort, dived to collect the bags and left them at the resort reception. The resort fired Iqbal following this act.

“In collaboration with other relevant authorities, we are investigating a case of illegal dumping of waste into the sea by a tourist resort,” stated EPA without identifying the resort.

A Tourism Ministry regulation effective since 2006 permits resort to dispose of waste items such as food and other perishable goods into the ocean in instances where there was no other location to dispose such waste.

A number of resorts in the Maldives practice the disposal of waste into the ocean under the regulation while many others outsource waste disposal. Some of the items disposed into the sea include plastic bottles and other damaging items to the environment. Complaints of such waste beaching onto inhabited islands have been recorded numerous times.

The Ministry had been working on amending the regulation since 2019.