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Solid waste in Maldives

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Solid waste in Maldives
Today, solid waste management has become a serious issue in the Maldives. Solid waste is the unwanted solid materials which compile up from residential, industrial & commercial activities. The quantity and types of Solid waste produced differs around the world depending on country & with significant changes with time. Solid wastes produced in Maldives mainly consists of organic materials (biodegradable wastes), recyclable waste (paper, glass, metals, plastics), Inert waste materials (construction & demolition wastes) & Hazardous wastes (paints, chemicals, fertilizers). Maldives is classified as developing country in the modern world. However, our country does not own the adequate tool and technique to manage such solid wastes produced daily. Hence, managing solid waste effectively has become one of the priority of government of Maldives by utilizing effective waste management techniques. Common Waste management techniques
Over the past decades, people around the world have developed unique ways in dealing with solid wastes. Each technique or method differs depending the type of waste. Activities such as identifying and throwing out material no longer required and gathering all the wastes and disposing them off are various ways of solid waste management around the world. Various common waste management techniques includes; composting, incineration, landfilling etc.
To start with, composting is the most used technique when it comes to biodegradable waste. Compost is the organic matter that has been decomposed as a fertilizer or soil. Composting basically requires making a heap of wetted organic matter (green waste) & waiting for that material to be broken within weeks or months. The compost made from composting process will be rich in nutrients and can be used for agricultural purposes and to generate biogas.
The second techniques is known as Incineration, a highly efficient method which involves the combustion of organic substances contained in solid waste materials. Incineration of waste materials converts the waste into ash, flue gas & heat. This method is ideal for countries where land had become a scarce resource. Incineration can also help to eliminate clinical wastes and hazardous wastes by using higher temperature to destroy them.
Moreover, the oldest technique of all is landfilling. This is accomplished by burying the solid waste materials. However, today people have approached this technique in a different way, using the landfills as a temporary waste storage or as a place to sort out and process the waste materials imported. With the use if landfill solid wastes can be managed and disposed off easily.
Moving on to the advanced techniques, plasma gasification is a process which converts organic matter into synthetic gas, electricity & slag using plasma. This is attained using a plasma torch which is powered by an electric arc that ionize gases & catalyzed matter into synthetic gas & solid waste. In the same manner, gasification is process that converts carbonaceous materials into carbon monoxide, hydrogen & carbon dioxide. This is achieved by reacting the materials in high temperature producing syngas, which is considered source of renewable energy.
Last but not least, the most common technique of waste management is recycling. Recycling is the process in which waste materials are converted into convenient material to be re used. Recycling is a key component of the modern waste reduction & third component of the (reduce, reuse, recycle) waste hierarchy. Moreover recycling helps to get fresh supply of same or similar kind of material that can be used for different purposes, thus preserving the natural resources.
In short, these are some of the most common techniques used by the developed countries around the world in order to manage solid waste. By employing these techniques solid wastes can be managed and disposed of without compromising the negative effects on the environment and can reduce cost incurred in various process such as in buying fertilizers for agricultural work.
Suitable waste management techniques that could be used in Maldives
Maldives is a nation where land is scarce & scattered all over the great Indian Ocean. Considering the fact that Maldivians suffer from lack of vast land areas, waste management needs to be adapted to our habitat in an environmental friendly manner. Since the beginning Maldivians have been using the land fill (burying waste), waste burning and dumping in ocean as solution of solid waste management. This leads the way to environmental issues and other similar form factors. As a solution the most suitable solid waste management techniques recommended are Incinerating, recycling waste, and composting.
Recycling is nothing new to our community as we all hear the word daily. Despite the fact, only a few Maldivian brands or companies have been actively recycling waste materials in large scale. The Maldivian industrial island, ‘Thilafushi’ was one of the first approaches in recycling that we failed to maintain. On the other hand Incinerators are being used in hand full of resorts throughout Maldives in their goal to become environmental friendly. These top notch machines around the main atolls will back --up in managing the solid waste produced around Maldives.
Last but not least, composting of biodegradable solid wastes in inhabited island in a large scale would probably help sustain and eco-friendly environment while managing the trash. Landfills like “Thilafushi” and “male’ kunikosh” could be the utilized in sorting out wastes for recycling.
Results of local solid waste management
Becoming one of the first countries to turn carbon neutral is our aim & dream of government of Maldives. This could not be archived unless Maldivians excel in an environment friendly, yet sustainable solid waste management plan in action. The most important outcome would be the impact on our local environment. Cities and islands turn out clean, safe & pleasant clearing a path to expand investor’s investments on local development and even on expanding tourism beyond 5 star resorts.
Moreover, solid waste materials imported to Maldives for construction and other industrial purposes will be decreased saving a lot. This will also help our economy in favoring our balance of payment by reducing the money spent on such construction materials. Furthermore, in a country where we share most part of our habitat with extinct & diverse creatures, waste management could be the key to their survival as well as ours.
Actions taken by Maldivians
Targets are clear, results are colorful & bright, but the input effort looks bleak. Generations have passed plotting the issue but have not yet succeeded in managing solid waste in a solid way. The responsibility of finding investors or earning enough to invest in our nation rests on the Maldivian government body.
We are not totally aware that whole nation produces 90 -150 tons of waste each day, and managing these tons of waste are not a simple task at all. In the past years Maldives have received various aid and donation from different countries including USD 6.5 million that was recently invested by the World Bank to establish a national waste management system. This is a silver lining in adapting environmental friendly sustainable solid waste management systems in Maldives. Hence, authorities responsible should make locals more aware of the solid wastes issue and try to manage the issues using various solid management techniques. A cautiously managed solid wastes could help our county in achieving the objective of being a carbon neutral country and could assist in developing the economy and protecting the environment around us. In fact 300,000 people’s ideas & work in achieving one goal will surely bring a desired change.

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