UNDP-MFF holds a solid waste management workshop for key island communities of Gaafu Alifu and Gaafu Dhaalu AtollsAug 25, 2015
Malé, 25th August 2015— A three-day workshop organized by UNDP’s Mangroves for the Future (MFF) Programme saw community participants and non-governmental groups from Huvadhoo atoll receive training on how to improve solid waste management as part of a larger initiative to tackle what has emerged as a major environmental issue for the Maldives.
The workshop that began last Saturday in Alifu Alifu Ukulhas concluded today with hopes of replicating the exemplary waste management system of Ukulhas in the islands of Gaafu Alif and Gaafu Dhaalu Atolls.
Participants from targeted communities of Gaafu Alifu and Gaafu Dhaalu atolls that included representatives from the islands of Villingili, Gemanafushi, Dhevvadhoo, Faresmathoda, Madaveli, Vaadhoo, Gadhdhoo, Dhaandhoo and Thinadhoo of Gaafu Alifu and Gaafu Dhaalu atolls along with other local NGOs and Community-based Organizations (CBOs) currently implementing UNDP-funded waste management projects took part in the workshop.
Technical experts from the Ministry of Environment, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and Ukulhas council shared strategies and knowledge based on best-practices and demonstrated the success of Ukulhas, as an island community, in adopting its environment-friendly waste management system. Furthermore, the Asia 3R Citizens Network, a Japanese NGO that specializes in composting and recycling with local champions from the Maldives also shared their experience.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the workshop, UNDP Resident Representative Shoko Noda compared the spotlessly clean streets of Ukulhas with her resident Hulhamalé island where litter was commonplace.
“I think this difference, seen in two parts of the same country, shows what could be accomplished by a community that is unified with a common goal and armed with dedication and hard work,” she said.
Ukulhas today is hailed as the country’s first ‘systematically waste-managed’ island community in the country. The success of Ukulhas stems from a small initiative that began with a UNDP grant which eventually turned the island’s worrying issue of waste into an income generating opportunity through recycling and reusing.
On a countrywide scale, the issue of waste has been identified as one of the major barriers for the country towards achieving sustainable development.
Some 200 inhabited islands placed geographically apart from one another makes transportation of waste exceedingly difficult and prohibitively expensive in the Maldives. This often leaves island communities with little choice but to resort to environmentally unsafe waste disposal methods such as discharging them to sea.
UNDP-MFF has collectively worked with local communities towards adopting good practices of waste management that are safer for both community health and the environment.
The workshop also aimed to further help communities towards adopting good waste management practices using lessons drawn from exemplary initiatives such as that of Ukulhas. The participants were given the opportunity to engage with the community and Island Council of Ukulhas to learn from their experiences and on how such a solution could be adopted in their respective islands.Contact information