First Lady Fazna Ahmed has urged the public to make a lifestyle shift from a “throwaway culture” to one that is more circular. She was speaking at the opening of the beach cleaning event in Hulhumalé held as part of the ‘Prevention of Marine Litter in the Lakshadweep Sea’ project this morning.
Cleaning events such as today’s exercise play a distinctive role in combatting ocean plastic pollution, she said, which opens opportunities for volunteers to see the impact and level of plastic pollution firsthand. While it allows organisers and volunteers to witness the extensive damage and consequences of ocean plastic pollution, cleaning operations and current recycling trends are insufficient to reverse the adverse effects of plastic pollution, she added.
The First Lady stated some lifestyle changes everyone should adopt today; use reusable containers instead of plastic bottles, carriers and other single-use options. “Carry a reusable water bottle, a reusable bag with you. When you go to buy ‘hedhikaa’ for your evening tea, take your own tupperware. Encourage your friends and family to the same,” she said.
Urging everyone who cares for the environment to support and participate in cleaning events such as today’s event, which the First Lady said promotes the greater good of the community, she asked everyone to do their part; pick up trash whenever they can—even if they don’t litter—and advocate against littering and other such harmful action. Acknowledging the numerous challenges to proper waste disposal and management, she noted that the Maldives’ plan to phase-out single-use plastics by 2023 resulted from extensive deliberations and collaboration of all stakeholders.
The plan bans the import, production and sale of selected single-use plastic products, from June 1, 2021. “I just want to reiterate that if we try to import items with just a micron or millilitre (ml) above the banned limit, then it would very much defeat the purpose of the regulation,” she said, emphasising that success of the plan relies on our commitment towards shaping and enforcing policies and regulations, in addition to adopting behavioural changes.
The ‘Prevention of Marine Litter in the Lakshadweep Sea’ project seeks to promote source-to-sea solutions to reduce marine littering in tourism clusters along the Lakshadweep shorelines of the Maldives, Sri Lanka and India. The project will be officially launched on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.