President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has stated that Maldives has cut the number of plastic bags it brings in by half, in the past year.
President Solih made the statement while briefing the media about the progress of the administration's socioeconomic plans, at the President's Office, on Wednesday.
During the press briefing, President Solih also briefed the media about the administration's efforts to protect and conserve the environment.
The President highlighted efforts to reach Net Zero by 2030, promote renewable energy sources, and spoke about the administration's ambitious plans to phase out single-use plastics (SUPs).
As such, he noted that the Maldives has cut the number of plastic bags it brings in by half, in the past year.
The President, on 19 December 2022, ratified the Waste Management Act, which was passed by the Parliament at the 43rd sitting of its third session on November 28, 2022.
The law governs the implementation and enforcement of sustainable waste management practices and policies drawn up to mitigate the negative effects of waste and protect public health, and it outlines the standards and procedures for sustainable waste management.
The bill also specifies administrative and punitive measures and penalizes criminal offences.
The purposes of the law include reducing pollution and environmental damage caused by waste, encouraging the reduction of public health risks, reducing the production of waste, and encouraging the recycling and reusing of waste. The law also specifies penalties for any form of damage to waste management systems, including mismanagement and negligence.
The bill empowers the relevant Cabinet Minister to draw up a waste reduction strategy and grants a 12-month period from the ratification of the law to draw up a sustainable waste management strategy. The Minister will also have 12 months to draw up a national master plan on waste management and one month to draw up an action plan to encourage and reward waste management initiatives.
The law also defines procedures for reducing single-use plastics (SUPs), charging for plastic bags, accruing fees, and penalizing for offences prohibited in the law.
On the same day, President Solih issued a decree republishing the list of Single-Use Plastics (SUPs) banned for import into the Maldives under the Waste Management Act.
The republished list specifies 13 items, prohibits their manufacture within the country, and dates when their import into the country will be banned.
Phasing out the use of SUPs in the Maldives is one of the government’s key environmental pledges.