The downside of paradise: 15 photos of a trash island in the Maldives and the story of how it came to be
There is an island of trash right in the middle of paradise Maldives. We solve the mystery, where all the waste tourists go.
A chain of Maldives islands in the Indian Ocean is as close to paradise as you can get. Maldives regularly takes its place in the ranking of the most favorite tropical destinations and is the place where everyone dreams to visit absolutely everyone (you can read about other places of paradise on Earth here ). This is not surprising: white sand, warm azure ocean, absolutely magical and incomparable sunsets attract hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. However, most of these tourists are completely unaware that the trash from them (which is about 3.5 kg per day) is deposited on the island nearby. It used to be a paradise, but now there is nothing left of that paradise.
This island was named Tilafushi, and back in the 1980s there was a lagoon here
However, in late 1991 the Maldivian authorities began to look for a solution to the garbage problem
The lagoon Thilafalhu, surrounded by turquoise waters, decided to become a local landfill
At first they dug deep holes and buried the trash with snow-white sand on top.
Years later, the pits turned into mountains and the island expanded: the garbage became an extension of the island.
Environmentalists estimate that 330 tons of waste are dumped there every day
Tilafushi is a few kilometers from Male’ and ships are diverted to its shores daily.
They bring garbage from other cities and trucks filled to overflowing with waste.
There are not many unloading points, so the truck drivers have to wait several hours for their turn.
Here, the trash is first sorted and then a small part of it is sent off for recycling.
Another part is incinerated.
But most of it ends up in these mountains, including toxic waste (batteries and electrical appliances).
About 150 people live and work in Tilafushi, most of them from Bangladesh.
The authorities plan to set up a waste processing plant here, but it’s already seven years old.
But there are small factories for boat production, methane bottling, and warehouses.
Have you ever wondered where all the trash from those vacationing in this paradise goes?
Maldives, besides trash, has another problem – the country can go under water. That’s why recently they started building the first floating city, which will move the inhabitants of Male’, you can read about it here.
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The flip side of paradise: a trash island in the Maldives sprawls 1 km. meter every day
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Relatively recently, controversial photos of one of the most beautiful resorts on the planet – the Maldives – have appeared on the Internet. As it turned out, the tourist industry brings not only enormous profits, but also causes irreparable damage to the entire water area of the adjacent part of the Indian Ocean. Tilafushi Island, purposefully given to landfill, from an overabundance of waste turned into a disgusting cloaca, which daily increases by 1 square meter!
The Maldives are rightfully considered a place of paradise on earth, because its delightful beaches, azure ocean and tropical vegetation attract the cream of society from around the world, amazing with its perfect purity, crystal clear waters of the lagoon and fantastically white sand, glowing in the night. But in this chain of impeccable splendor, there is one island that has become a real pariah and the most depressing place in the idyll of paradise: Tilafushi.
Beginning in 1991, when the tourism industry was gaining momentum and the small islands could not cope with the piles of waste, it was decided to turn one of them into a landfill.
Initially it was not an island, but a beautiful clean lagoon, which was located 7 kilometers from the capital Male. But instead of building a garbage processing plant on this place, all the waste collected from the resort islands, simply dumped in a pile, and then covered with construction debris and sand.
Gradually, because of the thoughtless attitude and irresponsibility of not only the authorities who allowed such blasphemy, but also the residents of the island state themselves, trying to ensure perfect cleanliness for tourists, the lagoon has turned into a garbage island.
Every year its area only increases, and now it reaches 3 km in width of 800 meters. Recently it has increased daily by 1 square meter!
In the early years of the municipality landfill on the island placed only garbage, but in recent years and decided to make money on the remaining territory, turning it into an industrial zone with harmful industries.
This state of affairs has contributed to the settlement of this area by people, who currently live in about 1,000 people. They are the main workforce in both the landfill and the companies that package cement, bottle methane and burn garbage (instead of recycling!).
As recent studies show, about 330 tons of garbage are delivered to this artificial island every day. Naturally, the size of the lagoon is no longer able to accommodate such an amount of waste, and much of the garbage, being washed away by the current, finds its way into the ocean waters, polluting nearby islands, including the capital’s water area.
Such a state of affairs can not avoid deplorable environmental consequences, because plastic and other waste falling into the water can release very dangerous substances, and the constant burning of waste pollutes the air with toxic smoke, not to mention the stench of all the accumulated garbage.
But not everyone is saddened by such a huge amount of discarded things in the landfill. The island has become a favorite haunt for Bangladeshis, who flock here for more useful items for home and even for sale. Since the landfill is mostly filled with waste from the fashionable hotels that cater to the wealthiest people, the loot can be quite good.
Of course, environmentalists and concerned people are alarmed about the situation, trying to call to account unscrupulous hotel owners who do not want to organize waste sorting, and just send everything in one container.
They are also trying to deal with negligent boaters who do not wait for the turn to unload, just dump all the waste in the water.
Thanks to their efforts, the laws have been revised and new regulations have been issued about the prohibition of burning garbage outdoors, and the rules for waste disposal have been changed. Therefore, the reception of waste from outlying resorts was stopped, and now only waste from the main island, which is the capital of the republic, will be placed on the island.
But the environmentalists do not stop there, they call on the authorities to take urgent measures to solve the garbage collapse. Insisting on the construction of a powerful waste processing plant, which the government planned to build back in the 90s, because now more than ever there is a threat of toxic substances entering the waters of the Indian Ocean.
With such attitude of people to the blessings that Mother Nature endowed us with, soon there will be no place on earth where it will be possible to enjoy clean air and water. The following review highlights little-known shocking facts that reveal the seriousness and global scale of the problems of environmental pollution.