SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation & Travel Issue 15, August 2016 - Page 128

area. We work closely with the local authorities to support their work. Our marine biologist serves on the Baa Atoll Advisory Board and we have been engaging the minister of environment to increase support of the area.

Slowly but surely, we see progress but there is still more to be done. For instance, Soneva Fushi is the only Baa Atoll resort that has banned night fishing due to its destructive practices.

Waste-to-Wealth

Waste management is a huge challenge in the Maldives and a threat to the marine environment. Soneva Fushi has taken on this challenge with the goal to prove that a comprehensive and effective waste management programme can be both good for the environment and profitable.

In total, 80% of our waste is recycled through state-of-the-art Eco Centro Waste-to-Wealth programme, up from only 27% compared to the 2008-09 baseline. 100% of food waste is composted and the fertile soil produced is reused in our vegetable gardens. This is in stark contrast to the norm in the Maldives, where the common practice for resorts is to dump food waste in the ocean – polluting the main tourist attraction the country.

They key is to view waste as an asset rather than rubbish. Our waste handling and vegetable production generated US$113,000 in value in 2014-15.

We expect this to increase as Soneva Fushi recently opened the Soneva Glass Studio, which invites guests to watch world-renowned glass artists create objects of art from waste glass materials and to learn the art of glass blowing themselves. Only waste glass produced from resorts in the local area is used at the facility. The Glass Studio takes our Eco Centro concept to the logical next step – creating not just wealth from waste but also beauty.

We are currently working with our neighbouring island to develop our waste-to-wealth concept further. The idea it to develop an Eco Centro there that can handle waste from several resorts in the region and at the same time creating jobs on the island.

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