WAMCO turns waste to gold

Waste Management Corporation (WAMCO) was founded to process waste on a sustainable basis.

Prior to President Abdullah Yameen's tenure, the company was functioning in name alone. The garbage and waste issue in Male' had reached epic proportions. Male' City Council was in charge of managing waste and garbage disposal of Male' City at that time. The truth was at the time, in spite of an annual budget of around MVR 300 million, the Council had failed in its bid to adequately address the issue.

After President Yameen was sworn in, drastic changes were made to the Corporation. Today, WAMCO is gearing up to turn waste and garbage to gold.

Speaking about the challenges WAMCO had faced in the past few years, Managing Director Ibrahim Fuad said when WAMCO was assigned to manage waste in Male', they did not have the required resources. The resources available itself had to be recycled.

"95 percent of vehicles were shut down. First we attempted to carry out the ongoing waste management process used by City Council. We first tackled Male' and Vilimale'," Fuad said.

WAMCO currently moves garbage out of Male' from two areas. Garbage from construction sites and businesses were transported to Thilafushi from a landing craft located in MPL area. Household waste was transported to Thilafushi from Male' by small vessels. Waste disposal in Vilingili now follows the same pattern as Male', transporting waste twice a week.

Turning waste to profits

"Waste is a resource, can generate a sustainable revenue stream. The corporation is investing into it," Fuad said.

The process is split into three phases. Under the first phase, WAMCO will introduce waste disposal charges to households and businesses within Male' for a fixed rate. This will bring a halt to expatriates disposing garbage at varying rates, as well as pickup services for garbage disposal. WAMCO says they are now bringing in the vehicles required for the project.

WAMCO is also preparing to being collective services in the Male' Industrial Village. A transfer station will be established in the area and will be used to compress waste. The compressed waste will be transferred to Thilafushi, where part of the waste will be disposed using environmentally friendly methods. Incineration will be carried out only for the waste that cannot be disposed by other methods.

"We now plan to export plastic, paper and iron. The Corporation aims to conduct operations by generating income without spending from state budget. The market is promising," he said.

Once the Industrial Village is completed in the coming two months, no garbage disposal work will be carried out in Male'.

Expand to rest of country in two years

In addition to waste management in Male', WAMCO is preparing to take over waste management operations in Hulhumale'. Waste management for the whole country is now split into seven zones. Waste Management Center is Raa Vandhoo is nearing completion.

"Vandhoo Waste Management Center will manage waste in Noonu, Raa, Baa, Lhaviyani Atolls. The resorts, islands and industrial islands in these atolls will transport waste to Vandhoo to be disposed," Fuad said.

WAMCO had also begun work on the construction of waste management centers in Addu City and Fuvahmulah. Additionally, waste transportation plans for Haa Alif, Haa Dhaal and Shaviyani atolls have been implemented with the waste being transported to Vandhoo Center. It is expected that in two years, WAMCO services will be expanded to the whole of the country.

WAMCO adds that public awareness was a vital aspect in the successful implementation of any waste management initiative. As such, the company will be conducting an awareness campaign on the next 3R day. 3R day in marked annually on August 16.