Dreaming of a holiday in the Maldives? Better hope you don’t end up on Maldives ‘Rubbish Island’ Thilafushi.
The Maldives are known as an unspoilt, paradise island destination for upmarket tourists but the BBC’s Simon Reeve has paid a visit to a part of the Maldives that tourists do not see – a huge island waste dump. Look at the video below!
Three-quarters of a million tourists flock to the pristine, white beaches every year – but this booming industry has come at a price.
Descending by plane into the Maldives offers a panoramic view of azure seas and coral-fringed islands, but as the tarmac nears, billowing smoke in the middle distance reveals an environmental calamity -even worst that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Thilafushi Island, a half-hour boat trip from the capital, is surrounded by the same crystal clear waters and white sand. But nobody wants to spend time on it!
Clouds of pungent, toxic smoke rising from open fires, piles of filth made up of plastic bottles, crisp packets and consumer detritus… it’s a far cry from the white sands, crystal-clear waters and gently swaying palm trees that we associate with the Maldives, the quintessential paradise island holiday destination set in the Indian Ocean.
When the influx of foreigners left the government struggling to cope with a relentless stream of rubbish, their answer was to turn one of the islands into a dumping ground.
Now, as they finally put an end to the practice of discarding and burning 330 tons of waste a day, the environmental disaster has long started.
Local authorities plan to stop the toxic open burning on the island and the private operator of the site, finally set to start work after a five-year delay, will build an incinerator. Better waste management in the capital Male through door-to-door collection and recycling will also help to reduce environmental damage.
Maybe will Maldives ‘Rubbish Island’ Thilafushi recover its pristine environment. But I doubt! Thilafushi, Maldives trash island, will stay a huge island waste dump!