Law is not allowing the import of waste: Environment Ministry

Addu City's Waste Management Centre | Photo: Ali Nishan/Climate Tracker/GCCA

Malé, Maldives – The Environment Ministry has defended the new amendments to Waste Management Act, saying it does not allow the import of waste into Maldives.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ratified the Waste Management Act (Law No: 24/2022) earlier this month after the parliament passed the bill at the 43rd sitting of its third session on Monday, November 28, 2022.

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

Article 44 of the Act states that no person shall import any kind of waste into Maldives without the permission of the Ministry. The article states that such permit shall be issued in accordance with the rules made by the Ministry.

While the ministry has been criticized for the bill, the ministry’s Director General, Waste Management And Pollution Control, Ahmed Murthaza told a press conference yesterday that the provision in the law was misunderstood and still prohibits the import of garbage.

“There is actually a provision prohibiting the import of garbage, not allowing it. It says that any person can import any kind of garbage from Maldives only under a permit issued by the ministry,” Murthaza said.

The amount of garbage collected in Thilafushi is close to 1,000 tonnes and there is no reason to import garbage into Maldives, he said.

Even if the waste is managed, ministry does not believe that there is a need to import waste into Maldives and that is not an option, he said.

When the Waste Management Bill was introduced in Parliament, it stated that the import of waste would be prohibited. The bill was amended at the committee stage. The committee report notes that waste is already useful for many countries in the world and has proven to be used to generate energy.

The committee also said that Maldives has plans for this purpose and the permit is important in case it is difficult to obtain waste for such purposes in Maldives.