Maldives has banned the use of single-use plastics (SUP) with the first round of ban coming into effect today, in a landmark achievement against climate change and plastic pollution.
The first round of plastic ban was amended to delay the ban of two key products due to difficulties in shipping and taking into consideration the negative impact on businesses during the pandemic. As such, the ministry has decided to allow the entry of single-use plastic products for which the airway bill has been issued before 1st June 2021.
The two products which were delayed from the first round of SUP ban include beverages below 500ml: which will be banned on 1 June 2022 and styrofoam food containers; which will be banned on 31 December 2021.
Following the ratification of the 18th amendment to Maldives’ Export-Import Act (No. 31/79), import of any goods declared as single-use plastic by the President will be prohibited under section 7 of the Act. The President will have the authority to compile and publish a list of goods to be classified as single-use plastic which will be banned under the act and allowed to make amendments to the list as necessary. As per the amendment, the President has categorized and published 12 categories of single-use plastics, and import of these products are to be banned in the Maldives starting from the specified date.
A national campaign against the use of single-use plastic products by the name “PlastikaaNulaa” to find a long-term solution for single-use plastic products in the country was launched, along with the SUP Phase-Out Plan on 26 April 2021 as part of the government’s pledges. Maldives is also a member of the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance, an action group devoted to advocating against marine plastic pollution.