Maldives signs MoU with Common Seas for single-use plastic phase out plan

Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, and Technology has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Common Seas for the implementation of the Maldives single use plastic phase out plan.

The agreement was signed by Environment Minister Aminath Shauna and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Common Seas Jo Royle at the United Nations Ocean Conference 2022 held in Lisbon, Portugal.

Common Seas is a not-for-profit enterprise that researches, designs and implements practical project-based solutions to the global plastic pollution crisis. Its mission is to quickly and significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste produced and stop it polluting rivers and seas.

Common Seas has been providing it support to the Maldives over the last four years, which includes using the Plastic Drawdown tool to help the Maldives understand its plastic pollution problem and launch the single-use plastic phase-out plan. The MoU will allow the NGO to further assist the Government of the Maldives to implement the plan, including through water refill, policy development, education, and driving down plastic waste in resorts. It will also be providing technical advice and guidance on water filters and fountains to reduce dependency on plastic bottled water, along with design and implementation advice on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes for plastic drinks bottles.

The Single-Use Plastic Phase-out Plan 2020-2023 is a national initiative to phase-out the production, import and sales of particular single use plastics in the Maldives and promote the use of sustainable alternatives, in order to safeguard public health, and the vulnerable marine environment of the country. Furthermore, the goal is to reduce single-use plastic usage and move customers away from single-use plastic while promoting sustainable alternatives through targeted awareness and educational initiatives.

The government is committed to phasing out single-use plastics in the Maldives by 2023, as per the Parliament Resolution of 2019 and the declaration made by President Solih at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in 2019. The Maldives has begun the first phase of the plan, which involves banning 13 types of single-use plastics from import to the Maldives across different phases this year. The first phase came into effect in June under the Environment Protection and Preservation Act, and includes the ban on the production and sales of eight different types of single-use plastics.