global sustainable development

Maldives and Common Seas sign historic agreement to slash plastic waste

historic agreement
Jo Royle, CEO of Common Seas (on the left) and Aminath Shauna, the Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Technology for the Republic of Maldives (on the right)

MALDIVES Environment Minister Aminath Shauna has this week announced a package of new measures to eradicate single-use plastic by 2023. The measures will be delivered by international social enterprise Common Seas. The Government of Maldives and Common Seas signed an historic MoU this week at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon. Common Seas will support Maldives to implement its Phase-Out Plan, which commits the country to phasing out unnecessary single-use plastic by 2023. 

The plan includes: 

  • A ‘take back the tap’ campaign, installing water fountains and activating citizens to choose refill over bottled water – which currently makes up ~50% of Maldives’ identifiable plastic pollution. 
  • Policy design to implement Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes for single-use plastic bottles. 
  • A plastics reporting tool and coach, which will support the Ministry of Tourism to work with hospitality businesses to measure and reduce their plastic use. 
  • Resources for the Ministry of Education to inspire and equip teachers and students to radically reduce single-use plastic waste in schools. 

Through this work, Maldives will become an important exemplar of how to address the plastic problem as the UN negotiates a new Global Treaty on Plastic Pollution over the next two years. The MoU further strengthens the relationship between the Government of Maldives and Common Seas. The collaboration started in 2019, when Common Seas used its Plastic Drawdown tool to help the Government of Maldives understand the scale and nature of its plastic pollution problem – and how to solve it. This process enabled the President of Maldives to announce a plan to phase out single-use plastics at the UN General Assembly in September 2019.  

Aminath Shauna, the Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Technology for the Republic of Maldives said“As an island nation known for our pristine waters, we find ourselves on the front line of the global plastic crisis. “This MoU further strengthens our commitment to reduce our reliance on single-use plastic and develop viable alternatives for the future. “Common Seas’ Plastic Drawdown tool and technical advice has been invaluable in helping us formulate a powerful plan to eradicate plastic pollution from source to sea.” 

Common Seas CEO Jo Royle said: “Back in 2019, we used our Plastic Drawdown tool to show that plastic waste entering Maldivian waters each year was on track to increase by 45% over the following decade if nothing was done. We were honoured to play our part in the President of Maldives’ announcement of a plan to phase out unnecessary single-use plastic. 

“We look forward to continue working closely with The Government of the Maldives to protect the nation, its economy and the health of its people from the ever-growing threat of single-use plastic waste.” 

“Maldives’ ambition and action on plastic makes it a lighthouse Ocean Nation. We hope this latest announcement attracts more countries to work with Common Seas to break the plastic wave.” 

To find out more:

Visit | @commonseas | @CommonSeas