Over the course of one week (Sept. 25-29) Piko and I helped the community of Fehendhoo sort and get rid of a giant trash pile which had been sitting and breeding mosquitoes for an entire year. Our mentors Syd and Lira, both of whom had been to this island last year, aided us in the process and helped motivate the community. While the work was tedious at times, it felt worthwhile. By removing this trash pile, we helped the community eliminate a major breeding site and they are that much closer to successful mosquito control. We were able to recycle a large amount of the trash, mostly bi-metal and aluminum, while the rest went to Thilafushi.
Waste management in the Maldives is an issue that interests me greatly, especially since it is so integrated with mosquito control. It is a very large and complex problem and I have not been able to think of any simple solution. However, I am confident that, like all of the other big problems throughout the world, it can be solved. I think that a crucial first step would be more education about the effects of trash on the environment.
Day one: This came in handy later when it started pouring rain!
Day three: The Fehendhoo community really stepped up to support the cleanup!
Day six: An incredible difference after a week of work. These bags made it off the island before we left!