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Cannot delay acting on regulation; will take action against resorts dumping waste into ocean: EPA

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns action against resorts that dump waste into the ocean, disregarding the circular by Ministry of Tourism to delay acting on reformed regulation until next year.

Speaking to 'One' on Thursday, EPA Director General Ibrahim Naeem stated that EPA will continue to take action against resorts that dump waste into the ocean. He added that acting on the reformed regulation cannot suddenly be delayed.

He added that the Tourism Act has already been reformed and therefore EPA does not find it acceptable to delay acting on the regulation.

Clause 5.3.3 of the regulation stated that "in the absence of a designated area for waste disposal in the region, only food waste and biodegradable waste may be dumped into the ocean. Any biodegradable waste dumped as such shall be dumped to the sea outside atoll, taking into account the wind and ocean currents so that it would not land on the shores of islands".

The Regulation on the Protection and Conservation of Environment in the Tourism Industry was revised in November to disallow resorts from dumping waste into the ocean. However, Tourism Ministry issued a circular in March stating that acting on the reformed regulation will be delayed until next year.

Naeem stated that resorts despite the circular, resorts do not have authorisation to dump waste into the oceans. He added that acting on the reformed regulation can only be delayed by revising the regulation and not a circular.