By Jon BowermasterMay 28, 2012
A worker looks for metal scraps in the smoldering trash of Thilafushi, the Maldives Islands’ garbage-only island. (Photo: Hani Amir/Flickr)..Out of sight, out of mind is generally the rule of thumb around the globe when it comes to the garbage we create every day. No matter how religious we might be about recycling, invariably each one of us is still responsible for filling a garbage bag or two each week, which then gets sets out on the curb, and—poof!—magically disappears.
Thilafushi is repository to all of the trash from the 100 islands that host tourist accommodations. In supersized nations like the United States, Canada, Russia, or Germany, landfills are usually hidden from view (out of sight, out of mind) but in small island-nations like the Maldives, entire islands have been turned into dumps. The name of the Maldivian rubbish island is Thilafushi. It sits just four miles off the main island of Male and is distinguished by the thick black smoke rising from it all day long. To reach the trash-only island, you pass Prison Island (to hold miscreants and scofflaws) and Apartment Island (to hold the country’s ever-expanding human population).
On Male, rocked recently by a presidential coup, more than 100,000 people live squeezed into one-and-a-half-square miles. Despite the cramped space on an island in the heart of the Indian Ocean, theirs is a modern existence, with cars and motor scooters, apartment buildings, shopping malls, markets and government offices. Nearby, Airport Island is connected by a flotilla of floating taxis. All of this living produces a lot of garbage. Rather than sink it to the bottom of the sea (which I’m sure was the practice not so long ago), it is now all boated to Thilafushi, which is today completely covered in trash.
Sadly, a poisonous fog hangs over what might have been just another of the 1,200 gorgeous Maldivian islands. This one is a faux island, though, created in 1992 to hold the country’s garbage. Today it receives 300 to 400 tons of trash each day.
Please, read whole article at HuffingtonPost:
- Trash in an Island Paradise – Ecology Global Network (ecology.com)
- Research suggests ocean garbage patches may be bigger than once believed (pri.org)
- Clothing Company Ties Sales to Ocean Cleanup (voanews.com)
- Next Stop Dusit Thani Maldives (wheresbrentbeen.com)
- 11 fishermen detained in Maldives released (thehindu.com)