Three-quarters of a million tourists flock to the pristine, white beaches every year - but this booming industry has come at a price. When the influx of foreigners left the government struggling to cope with a relentless stream of rubbish, their answer was to turn one of this islands into a dumping ground.
Clouds ofpungent, toxic smoke rising from open fires, piles of filth made up of plastic bottles, crisp packets and consumer detritus... it'sa far cry fromthe white sands, crystal-clear waters and gently swaying palm trees that we associate with the Maldives, the quintessential paradise island holiday destination set in the Indian Ocean.
Of its 200 inhabited islands, which are spread across an area of 35,000 square miles, 99 are dedicated resorts.
Three-quarters of a million tourists visit every year – more than double the domestic population. Of these, over 100,000 travel from the UK.
The capital, Malé, is four times more densely populated than London. Given these facts, it's hardly surprising that the Maldives has a waste disposal problem.
What you are seeing here is a view of the Maldives on which no honeymooners will ever clap eyes.
Four miles west of Malé is the country's dumping ground, Thilafushi – or Rubbish Island as it has simply become known.
The country dumps upwards of 330 tons of rubbish on the island every day, a figure attributed largely to the tourist industry on which the chain of atolls relies. Each visitor generates 3.5kg of waste per day.
Now, the government of the Maldives has belatedly banned the dumping of waste on the island, due largely to an increase in the number of waste boats 'fly-tipping' directly into the sea, fed up with waiting seven hours or more to offload their cargo. The freighters are now ferrying debris to India instead.
2012-06-26 19:15 编辑：crystal156