The majority of the islands in the Maldives are barely a few feet above sea level, making it the lowest-lying nation in the world.
The majority of the country’s population won’t be able to live there by 2050 since, according to NASA, 80% of the 1,200 islands that make up the country’s Indian Ocean territory will be submerged in seawater.
The country’s problems do not stop here, though. Travelers from all over the world visit the Maldives because of its stunning and appealing beaches and locations.
There were more than 1.7 million visitors to the Maldives annually prior to the outbreak. After the epidemic shut down the travel industry, the number decreased, but now that the majority of the world has practically defeated the pandemic, the movement is steadily making headway.
Improper waste disposal is a problem the nation must deal with because of the millions of tourists it attracts. The Maldives tourist authority has reiterated the appeal for personal responsibility in the disposal of non-biodegradable garbage.
Nevertheless, incidents of inappropriate garbage disposal still occur and must be eliminated.
The nation’s abundant coral reefs have suffered as a result. As it reflects their identity, the treasure is valuable to the Maldives.
But when scientists conducted a study of the territory in 2016, they found that more than 60% of the Maldives’ pristine reefs had been harmed by coral bleaching triggered by climate change.
CEO of Island Innovation, James Ellsmoor, said, “A large draw for tourism is the healthy ocean environment visitors come to see. Clearly, this type of environment must be preserved in order to continue attracting high-spending tourism.”
The Tourism paradox
The Maldives’ economy is growing primarily due to the tourist industry. Tourists’ regular trips encourage regional economic expansion, especially in the supply and demand of products and services.
Simply put, the tourist industry is essential to the 540,000 people who live in the Maldives. The industry responsible for the harm done to the environment, however, is the tourist industry itself.
To serve its millions of visitors each year, for instance, resorts in the Maldives allot a significant amount of energy. Waste is being dumped into the environment in excess as a result. Experts emphasize that to protect the environment, the country’s 150+ resorts need to “go green.”
“The high cost of importing fuel to power noisy, polluting generators simply does not make sense when compared to the much lower cost of solar, wind and battery storage,” Ellsmoor added.
The Maldives government outlined its strategies for protecting the environment in the midst of this problem. Furthermore, by 2030, the Maldives should become a carbon-neutral nation and outlaw all single-use plastics by next year.
The good news is that Maldivian resorts have embraced the cause and are leading the charge toward sustainability, offering the same high-end services while preserving the environment.
Resorts have stepped up
There hasn’t been much focus on waste in the Maldives traditionally. This is because a significant portion of the enormous waste dumped into the environment over a long time came from the tourism industry.
But several resorts and organizations have responded to recent pleas to safeguard and preserve the Maldives’ future.
The Eco Centro program, for instance, was just created by Soneva Resorts. Approximately 90% of the rubbish from the resort is recycled thanks to the project.
Soneva Resorts also leads the Makers’ Place, which enables people to redefine recycling and infuse art into it, producing sellable art and goods like glassware and wall tiles.
The Sustainability Lab at Fairmont Maldives was inaugurated this year, another resort in the Maldives. The lab would collect plastics discovered near the resort and those found within the resort and reconstruct the plastic for resale.
By taking part in the program, Maldivians develop their artistic talents, earn a living, and safeguard the environment. The management of the Fairmont Maldives claims that they want to be the “first zero-waste-generating resort in the country.”
“(We are) encouraging the next generation to care passionately about protecting the ecosystem and marine life that inhabits it,” said the company’s manager and resident marine biologist, Sam Dixon.
Photo Credit: Parley Maldives