President ratifies Waste Management Act allowing waste import

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih at the ceremony held to mark the inauguration of initiatives to control Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs). | Photo: President’s Office

Malé, Maldives – President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Monday ratified the Waste Management Act (Law No: 24/2022).

Parliament passed the bill at the 43rd sitting of its third session on Monday, November 28, 2022.

The law governs the implementation and enforcement of sustainable waste management practices and policies drawn up to mitigate the negative effects of waste and protect public health, and it outlines the standards and procedures for sustainable waste management.

The waste management bill was passed after many organizations expressed concern over the bill and called for its non-approval.

Government had told that the purposes of the law include reducing pollution and environmental damage caused by waste, encouraging the reduction of public health risks, reducing the production of waste, and encouraging the recycling and reusing of waste.

The law also defines procedures for reducing single-use plastics (SUPs), charging for plastic bags, accruing fees, and penalizing for offenses prohibited in the law.

In addition to allowing the importation of garbage, the bill will also include a levy on plastic bags once it comes into force. According to the Act, a fee of MVR 2 will be charged for plastic bags from the date of entry into force of the Act four months after it comes into force.

The law also specifies penalties for any form of damage to waste management systems, including mismanagement and negligence. The bill also specifies administrative and punitive measures and penalizes criminal offenses.

According to the Act, parties who are required to prepare an industrial waste management plan under this Act shall be liable to a fine not exceeding MVR 50,000 if he fails to prepare such a plan.

Any person who violates the notice shall be liable to a fine of MVR 5,000. It also states that if you illegally import garbage or export hazardous waste, you can be fined up to MVR 5 million.

The bill empowers the relevant Cabinet Minister to draw up a waste reduction strategy and grants a 12-month period from the ratification of the law to draw up a sustainable waste management strategy.

The Minister will also have 12 months to draw up a national masterplan on waste management and one month to draw up an action plan to encourage and reward waste management initiatives.

Upon ratification, the law was published in the Government Gazette and is now in effect.