Tourism was relatively unknown to the Maldives until but these days it’s a very different story. More than eight million tourists have visited Maldives and tourism accounts.
To help reduce the environment from more than a decade of intense tourism, we are taking major steps to become more sustainable, reduce plastic waste and support marine ecosystems. They are also asking guests to do the same so that the islands and surrounding reefs can be preserved for centuries to come.
Island recycling plants
Plastic is one of the scourges of the environment, whether it’s bobbing around in the sea, clogging up the beaches or reduced to tiny particles in the stomachs of fish, birds and mammals.
To help reduce plastic waste, some island resorts have their own recycling plants. For instance, Furaveri Island have a water bottling plant, which has been running for the past two years. With a storage capacity of 360 tonnes, the plant recycles glass bottles, which are then served in restaurants and the guest’s. The next step is to focus on using smaller glass bottles for guests to take on excursions, as currently they can still choose to drink from plastic bottles of water.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island have a different method: from summer they have collaborated with the environmental network Parley for the Oceans by sending their plastic waste to be made into tote bags. These are then offered to guests, and their purchase contributes to the removal of marine plastic waste via the Parley Global Clean Up Network.
Conrad Maldives have taken it one step further and pledged a ban of all single-use plastics.
Preserving coral ecosystems
The coral reefs in the Maldives suffered from the phenomenon of coral bleaching: rising sea temperatures cause the coral polyps to expel algae that live inside their tissues. This causes the coral to turn white, and many of them begin to starve after bleaching and eventually die.
Many sea creatures depend on the corals for food and shelter, so the impact on marine life can be devastating.
More than 60% of coral in the Maldives has been by bleaching, but it is still possible for the reefs to recover. This has been bolstered in certain parts of the Maldives by coral conservation projects.
Conrad Maldives have invested in a long-term coral conservation project by placing dozens of coral frames (formed by tying pieces of live coral to a metal frame) in the ocean. Over the course of four to five years the coral will regrow, spawn and spread to other reefs, creating new ecosystems that will benefit all marine life.
Rescuing marine animals
The Maldives already has very strict fishing regulations which are enforced to maintain fish stocks and preserve the reefs – in fact reef fishing is strictly prohibited in marine reserves.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for fishing regulations in some of the neighbouring countries that border the Ocean. As a result fishing nets, also known as ghost nets, are swept into the Maldives by the strong current and trap all sorts of marine life including dolphins, green turtles and the critically endangered hawksbill turtles.