State Trading Organization (STO) has said the company is bringing about environmentally friendly and sustainable changes to its core businesses.
Speaking at the company's Annual General Meeting held at Crossroads Maldives on Monday, STO's Managing Director Hussain Amr said the company could not move forward without ensuring its businesses are environmentally friendly. He said that the cost rendered later would be higher if the company did not make changes now. Therefore, it has already begun implementing some changes to be more environmentally friendly, he said.
"One of the most polluting industries globally is the cement industry. The cement industry emits 31 percent of poisonous gases. That is why cement companies must produce eco-friendly cement. That is the reason we introduced cement this year," Amr said.
Amr further said STO imports 31 tonnes of carbon dioxide cement when measured by the amount of cement imported by the company.
"If you compare these numbers, this is like planting 1,100 big trees," Amr explained.
Amr also noted that oil also contains air pollutants and health hazards.
"Sulfur is a cause of respiratory illnesses, heart disease, and cancer. Oil companies must try to reduce the release of this substance for this reason. With new technology that is now being used, we have been able to reduce the amount of sulfur released from 2.5 percent to 0.5 percent in the last four years," Amr said.
"This is not all. We have also set up a fuel lab to ensure that the oil imported into the Maldives is up to that quality and standard," Amr added.
STO has also decided to take important measures to "divorce" plastics. STO's main supermarket in Male' City no longer bags purchases in plastic bags.
Amr said there were difficulties in stopping the use of plastic bags and that it was an expensive goal. Despite these challenges, the company's management is moving forward with the decision and sticking with it, he said.
"The first challenge we faced was not getting enough paper bags. We wanted to cease the use of plastic bags at 180 pharmacies. That is about one million bags per year. So, our staff spent three-four nights making these bags. We are moving forward with that resolve," Amr said.