Abstract for: Wasted Paradise - Imagining the Maldives Without the Garbage Island of Thilafushi

To address the high level of waste production in the Maldives, the local government decided to transform the coral island of Thilafushi into an immense waste dumb in 1992.Meanwhile, each day, 330 tons of waste is ferried to Thilafushi. The policy had the positive consequence of relieving the garbage burden in Malé, the main island, and surrounding tourist atolls. However, it can also lead to serious environmental and economic damage in the long range. First, the garbage is in visual range of one of the most prominent tourist destinations. Second, if the wind blows a certain way, unfiltered fumes from burning waste travels to tourist atolls. Third, water quality can erode as hazardous waste from batteries and other toxic waste is floating in the ocean. Over time, these effects can accumulate to significantly hamper the number of tourists that travel to the Maldives – one of the state’s main sources of financial income. In our paper, we lay out the situation in more detail and translate it into a simulation model. We test different policies to propose the Maldives government how to better solve the waste problem.