Maldives launches campaign to reduce ocean plastic

Maldives has launched a special campaign to reduce plastic dumped into the ocean.

The campaign, which was launched on Monday as part of the activities held to mark World Environment Day, aims to map out the quantity of plastic bags imported into the Maldives, to reduce the number of bags dumped into the ocean and to raise awareness amongst school students about the threats posed by ocean plastic. Deliberations will also be held with water bottling companies to reduce the use of plastic bottles.

Speaking at a ceremony held Monday evening to launch the campaign, environment minister Toriq Ibrahim said waste management is the biggest challenge faed by the Maldives. It affects tourism and fisheries, which are the main economic activities, he added.

“We will work towards making sure that plastic bags are used only when necessary,” the minister said.

An estimated 8m metric tons of plastic waste enter the oceans each year. The problem is found in every known ecosystem and at every level of the food chain. If current marine pollution trends continue, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish by the year 2050.

Known internationally as one of the world’s best scuba diving destinations, the Maldives has an abundance of dive sites with a unique underwater beauty to explore. The islands of the Maldives have consistently warm waters with outstanding visibility throughout the year, and consist of exhilarating dive sites such as vibrant thilas, exciting channels, coral-filled overhangs and fascinating wrecks.

Maldives’ world-renowned coral reefs play a fundamental role in food production, shoreline protection, and tourism revenue, but ocean plastic threatens the survival of shallow coral reefs. Preservation of the reefs has become more important than ever.

Corona and Parley for the Oceans have recently announced a partnership to protect 100 islands, including the islands of Maldives, from ocean plastic by 2020.

Photo courtesy: Mihaaru

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