A decision by the Tourism Ministry has paved the way for resorts to keep dumping their perishable waste into the deep sea till the end of this year.
A regulation issued back in 2006 allows tourist resorts to dumping their perishable waste into the deep sea if there is no designated waste dumping sites nearby. The regulation stipulates that such waste must be dumped against the current and in a way that it would not wash up on the island shores.
But lately, resorts have taken advantage of this regulation and have been dumping waste such as plastic bottles and bags into the sea. Many islands have also voiced concerns about such waste now washing up on their shores.
This prompted the government to amend the regulation by removing this section of the regulation and had promised more changes to the regulation in the future.
But in a turnaround, Tourism Ministry had sent a circular to all the tourist establishments in the country saying that it would delay implementing this amendment to the regulation till the end of this year.
The Ministry had cited concerns highlighted by industry stakeholders as reasons for the delay. It had been said that during discussions between the two parties, industry heads had highlighted that enforcing the amendment would create many issues to resort owners and tourist establishments.
At a parliamentary committee hearing members of the Maldives Association of Tourism, Industry MATI had said that suddenly halting dumping waste into the sea would be problematic for many tourist establishments, especially safaris.
They had also said that resorts would be able to stop dumping perishable waste into the sea once authorities establish waste management facilities across the country and arrange vessels that would carry waste to such facilities.