Waste Management Act




The Maldives parliament, the People’s Majlis, passed the much awaited Waste Management Act (WMA) on the 28th of November 2022. This is the first legislation of its kind on waste management in the Maldives.

The waste management bill was submitted to the People’s Majlis by the government on 16 May 2022, which was subsequently sent to the Environment and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) for review on 27 June 2022.

Notably, not a single public consultation was held on this serious national issue.


Basic Facts

• this is the first waste management bill of its kind in the Maldives
• s 46 of the initial draft bill categorically prohibited waste importation into the country
• s 44 of the revised and ratified law allows waste importation into the Maldives
• there was no wider public consultation or dialogue about the bill prior to its passing by Majlis and subsequent ratification
• the bill was put through the parliament over a period of 6 months
• the bill was passed by parliament with 54 yes votes and no dissenters
CSOs called for the President not to ratify the law, but these concerns were ignored

Amendment to WMA Submitted

In December 2022, the Minister for MoECCT declared that an amendment to the WMA would be submitted to the Majlis in January 2023 regarding the matter of allowing waste imports to the Maldives. Two months later than stated, on 27 March 2023, the proposed amendment was submitted to the Majlis.
The proposed amendment to Section 44 reads as follows (Dhivehi) :

މާއްދާ 44 – ދިވެހިރާއްޖެއަށް ކުނި އެތެރެކުރުން
އެއްވެސް ފަރާތަކުން ދިވެހިރާއްޖެއަށް އެއްވެސް ބާވަތެއްގެ ކުނި އެތެރެކުރުމަކީ މަނާކަމެކެވެ


Unofficial English translation :
Section 44 – Importing waste into the Maldives
The importation of any kind of waste into the Maldives by anyone, is prohibited.


We welcome this action by the MoEECT and urge the Majlis to expedite the process and incorporate this amendment into law.


Note : In this proposed bill to amend the WMA 24/2022, in addition to Section 44 on waste importation, amendments were proposed for Sections 8, 9, 10, 21, 22, 24, 32, 35, 41 and 76.

Maldives Waste Management Act Amendment Majlis Draft March 2023 #SaveMaldives

IMAGE: cover – amendment submission

Newspaper Reports

Newspapers report that the Minister for Environment, Climate Change & Technology (MoECCT) has said the government will send the Waste Management Act for amendment when the parliament returns from recess in January 2023. Section 44(b) of the law requires the MoECCT to make a regulation that will provide permits for parties intending to import waste.

The report in Dhauru News quotes the minister to have said that: “A regulation will not be made to enable waste imports to the Maldives”.

Human Rights Watch releases a dispatch outlining concerns about the ratification of the Waste Management Act despite civil society calls not to ratify the law as it was without amending.

Our concerns:

  • The government does not have a good track record to implement verbal declarations of intent.
  • A key example of this is the election pledge in 2018 to make the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) an independent entity, which remains pending.
  • In July 2022, the government ratified the Evidence Act with a contentious clause that seriously undermined media freedoms in the Maldives. Stakeholders have been calling for a promised amendment which has yet to materialise.
President ratifies Waste Management Act

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ratifies the Waste Management Act, despite calls to return it to the parliament to amend the contentious clause allowing waste imports to the Maldives.

News report: Adhadhu

President’s Office Press Conference

Answering a question by a journalist at a press conference held by the President’s Office, Spokesperson Mr Miuvaan Mohamed said the President will ratify the bill and seek to make amendments later.

CSO Concerns

17 CSOs raise concern about the WMA’s last-minute change allowing waste importation to the Maldives, which was expressly prohibited in the earlier version of the bill.

CSOs called for President Solih :
1) Not to ratify the bill
2) To ensure the above collective concerns are addressed comprehensively with an inclusive and nationwide public consultation on the waste management issue in the Maldives, and
3) To develop clear government policy commitments and assurances that the Maldives will not be turned into a waste dumping ground for foreign contractors, companies, or governments seeking to deal with their insurmountable waste mountains.

Online statement: Save Maldives

Majlis Votes to Pass the Bill

Majlis votes to pass the bill with 54 votes in favour and no dissenting votes – How they voted: PDF

ECCC Finalises its Review

ECCC finalises its review of the Waste Management Bill

Bill review – final report: PDF

Stakeholder consultation at ECCC

Stakeholder consultation held at the ECCC where Zero Waste Maldives representatives provided comments and input to the bill.

Bill sent to Majlis ECCC

Waste Management Bill sent to Majlis ECCC for review.

Bill submitted to Majlis

Waste Management Bill submitted to Majlis by government

Initial draft bill: PDF

Thilafushi garbage island Maldives