Maldives to Become Marine Reserve
All 1,192 islands of the Maldives are set to become a protected marine site by 2017. It’s the first time an entire country has been declared a marine reserve.
It’s always great to hear when a country takes steps to improve its environmental footprint. That’s why we were happy to hear that the Maldives—that beautiful tropical oasis in the Indian Ocean—is set to become a marine reserve by 2017.
The move would see all 1,192 islands of the Maldives become a protected marine site, and would be the first time an entire country has been declared a marine reserve.
A number of islands in the Maldives are already UNESCO Biosphere Reserves; in July 2011, Baa Atoll, which consists of 75 islands, achieved UNESCO status.
President Mohamed Waheed made the announcement last week, at the Rio +20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At the same conference, he also announced that the Maldives plans to implement a voluntary donation program for tourists to contribute to the Maldives’ efforts to become carbon-neutral.
However, some might say the timing of the announcement seems reactive. In May of this year, several news outlets, including BBC News Asia, ran stories on Thilafushi, a coral island that sits four miles off the Maldives’ main island of Male and has become a dumping ground for the country’s growing quantities of waste—much of which is produced by tourists. Up to 300 tonnes of waste per day is shipped to the island, reports BBC News Asia, where it is simply dumped and burned.
What do YOU think of the Maldives’ environmental efforts?