PRESS RELEASE: [The President's Office, Republic of Maldives] First Lady urges lifestyle shift from throwaway culture to one that is more circular

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25 January 2021, Ref: 2021-018

First Lady Fazna Ahmed has urged the public to make a lifestyle shift from throwaway culture to one that is more circular. She made the remarks at the beach clean-up event in Hulhumalé under ‘Prevention of Marine Litter in the Lakshadweep Sea’ project this morning.

Speaking at the event, First Lady Fazna Ahmed said that clean-ups are a huge part of the fight against plastics as it opens opportunities for the volunteers to see the impact and level of plastic pollution first hand. She said that it gives organisers a platform to directly connect them to the consequences and damage that come with the pollution. However, she added that clean-ups and recycling are not enough.

Referring to the everyday routines of Maldivians, the First Lady suggested some lifestyle changes that can be brought through simple actions such as carrying reusable water bottles, reusable bags and taking tupperware to buy hedhikaa for evening tea. She also asked to make it a fashion statement to repeat and borrow dresses and to encourage friends and family to bring these life style changes.

Speaking further, the first lady stressed that children and people who care for the environment do need to get involved in cleanup activities for the greater good of the community. Therefore, she urged people, even if they do not litter themselves - to keep picking up waste where and when they can, and to keep voicing out against these kinds of actions because individual actions add and they matter.

Acknowledging that there are numerous challenges in the proper disposal and management of waste in the country, she urged all stakeholders participate in dialogue to find solutions for the disposal of waste in a responsible manner. She added that consultation and working together was what led to the Maldives’ Single Use plastic phase out plan.

Speaking on the Maldives’ Single Use plastic phase out plan that comes into effect on 1 June 2021, the First Lady reiterated that if we try to import items with just a micron or milliliter above the banned limit, it would defeat the purpose of the regulation. She also emphasized that the success of the plan relies upon our commitment towards shaping policies, regulations and the enforcement as well as behavioral changes to adapt over time.

The ‘Prevention of Marine Litter in the Lakshadweep Sea’ project seeks to promote source-to-sea solutions to reduce marine littering in tourism clusters along the Lakshadweep shorelines of the Maldives, Sri Lanka and India. The project will be officially launched on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.