The right place. Solid waste management in the Republic of Maldives: between infrastructural measures and local practices

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The 2010 UNPD’s Assessment of Development Results defined the Maldives “a vulnerable Small Island Developing State” by pointing out the influence of both external and local human factors on their fragile ecosystems. This impact is deeply related to a main geographical feature: the high dispersion of land mass and population, both of them spread over a distance of 860 km. Above all, this dispersion has an effect on two environmental issues: energy distribution and solid waste management. The latter is particularly interesting for the geographical analysis of Small Island Countries. Due to centre-periphery distance and cost benefits analysis, in the Maldives public and private actors have developed different solid waste management models: central and regional waste management dumpsites, hybrid systems implemented by resorts and “informal” practices still followed by local communities. In this paper, we discuss these systems stressing on the relevance of combining infrastructural measures with “informal” practices at local level. Furthermore, we report the outcomes of The Right Place, a participatory waste management action carried out by MaRHE Center (a Milano- Bicocca Research Center) in Faafu Magoodhoo Island.

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