The Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Technology bans the import of 8 types of single-use plastics, effective from today. In order to acknowledge the environmental, social and health impacts of plastic pollution in the Maldives, Ministry of environment has formulated a strategic plan, “Single Use Plastic Phase-out Plan 2020-2023” and it is being endorsed by the government of Maldives. This phase-out plan is a national initiative to phase out the production, import and consumption of certain single use plastics into the Maldives and promote the use of sustainable alternatives, in the effort to protect human health, and the vulnerable marine environment of the country. In addition, by using strategic awareness and educational campaigns, the aim is to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics, and nudge consumers to shift away from SUP’s, and use sustainable alternatives.
The first step of the phase-out plan began with the ratification of the 18th Amendment Bill to the Export-Import Act of Maldives (Act No. 31/79) on December 22, 2020 which vests the president with the powers to ban the import of Single-use plastics. To commence this, president has announced list of 13 single use plastic items subjected to ban under the presidential decree no: (2020/8)
The following items will be prohibited to import from 1st June 2021:
- Single-use plastic-based drinking straw
- Single-use plastic-based plates, cutleries and stirrers
- Plastic shopping bags below 30×30 cm
- Imported sweet areca nuts in plastic wrapping
- Single-use plastic drinking cups below 250ml
- Cotton bud with plastic stems
- Shampoo, soap, conditioner and lotion bottles in plastic packaging that are 50 ml and below
- All imported water packed in plastic bottles below 500 ml
The dates for the ban on the import of some items have been delayed considering the economic impacts due to covid 19. Therefore, the import ban of beverages packed in plastic bottle below 500ml will be effective from 1st June 2022 and the import ban of Styrofoam lunch box will be effective from 31st December 2021.
Phasing-out single-use plastic in Maldives by 2023 is a commitment of the Government of Maldives, as per the Maldives Parliamentary Resolution of 2019 (1-ރ /2019/EC) and His Excellency President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s declaration at the 74th session of the United Nation’s General Assembly (UNGA) in 2019.
The Maldives is also a member country of the commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance action, an action group devoted to tackling marine plastic pollution.