The small coral islands of the Maldives are among the most beautiful locations on our planet. While they may seem fragile, their ecosystems have actually developed over thousands of years into some of the most complex reef systems in the world.
What many tourists don’t see when they visit the Maldives is that local islands are facing a very modern threat – the scourge of marine plastic litter which washes up on beaches and smothers coral reefs.
Tackling a problem that recognises no physical limits requires an innovative approach. That’s why we have launched Soneva Namoona, a partnership between Soneva Fushi, our three neighbouring island communities of Maalhos, Dharavandhoo and Kihaadhoo, and international NGO Common Seas, funded by Soneva and the Soneva Foundation.
Our partnership provides a blueprint for how all Maldivian islands can phase out single-use plastic, introduce recycling and inspire a new generation of ocean stewards by fostering a love for the ocean.
For lack of other options, island communities burn their garbage in toxic open bonfires. In February 2020, Soneva Namoona celebrated a Maldives’ first: Maalhos become the first island in the country to end the practice of open burning. This was made possible by a concerted effort by the local community to segregate waste and the opening of Maalhos Eco Centro, a waste-to wealth recycling centre funded by Soneva and modelled on Soneva Fushi’s own Eco Centro.
In response to a huge surge in interest in gardening during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Soneva Namoona team created a beginners gardening course to help communities and individuals around the world manage their food waste and grow delicious fresh food.
“Namoona” refers to something that is exemplary, ideal, an exception. The lighthouse communities of Soneva Namoona shine a path for island communities all around the world.
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