tourism leads to artificial waste islands
The world’s biggest and dirtiest rubbish island most would find shocking to believe, sits within a well known tropical paradise with over 1,200 coral islands nestled nicely in the Indian Ocean. This place, this island, this location, which hides such a stinky secret, is none other than Thilafushi, in the Maldives. Yes, close your mouths my dears.
Thilafushi is but a few miles and a short boat ride away from the Maldivian capital, Malé. The artificial island ironically was built to resolve Malé’s refuse (reclamation project) problem in 1992. The island has since super-sized to cover a mass of 124 acres of waste (calculating at around 330 tonnes of rubbish everyday). Not surprising considering over 10,000 tourists visit the Maldives every week.
While the Maldives can boast at being the richest country in South Asia, Malé however, is one of the world’s most densely populated towns with around 100,000 people being squashed into 2 square kilometers. Though, thankfully for tourists, Thilafushi is hidden from view, and nobody except workers go there. It wouldn’t make for ideal sightseeing.
Waste pollution and rising sea levels caused by global warming don’t add up to the ideal living conditions. Earlier this month the new president, Mohamed Nasheed, stated that in order to solve this growing problem, the government will put aside some of the Maldives’ tourism revenues to buy another homeland. Who says social innovation and comedy don’t go hand-in-hand?