Eliminating Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) through sound management of chemicals


The Project aims to reduce the risk of POPs on human health and the environment by strengthening institutional capacity and the policy and regulatory framework for the environmentally sound management (ESM) of hazardous chemicals with focus on POPs. It is designed to develop a sustainable system for the sound collection, labeling, storage and disposal of hazardous POP’s chemicals and waste.

To achieve Global Environmental Benefits (GEB) Unintentional Persistent Organic Pollutants (U-POPs) and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) release should be reduced by introducing the Best Environmental Practices (BEP) and Best Available Techniques (BAT) at the regional and municipality level, and at tourist resorts.  In addition, gender mainstreaming will target at the community level to strengthen women's decision-making tools and awareness about hazardous POPs.


Maldives is a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) that faces various sustainable development challenges such as small populations, land scarcity, vulnerability to impacts of climate change and other natural disasters, as well as economic development costs. The geographical makeup of the nation, being an archipelago, exacerbates some of these challenges such as high transportation costs, lack of adequate infrastructure, and lack of industrial development incentives.  

278 islands generate (chemical) waste presenting the country with incredible challenges such as scarcity of land and its low lying nature making transportation of chemicals and waste from one island to the other costly and complicated. The current disposal practices of hazardous chemicals and waste in the Maldives is inadequate. For instance, the practice of open burning of waste at dumpsites or disposal near the Indian Ocean, makes it likely that these toxic chemicals waste end up in the ocean.  

In order to tackle these environmental and human health risks, the Government of Maldives, through the Ministry of Environment (MOE) has taken initiative to manage the growing chemical and waste problems. For instance, the country has ratified the Stockholm Convention (SC) on 17 October 2006; and in accordance to Article 7 of the Convention, submitted its National Implementation Plan (NIP) to the Stockholm Convention Secretariat (SCS) on 18 July 2017, covering the the initial POPs as well as the new POPs added at the 4th and the 5th Conference of the Parties.  

The highest-ranking national priorities according to the NIP are as follows:  

  1. The Implementation of measures to strengthen the institutional and regulatory framework, which includes the 

  • developing legislation for chemicals management; 
  • strengthening institutional capacity; 
  • improving data collection and management systems and (iv) conducting research on the effects of POPs; 
  1. Developing an action plan to eliminate PCB-containing equipment and its waste by 2025, which includes the 

  • identification, labelling and mapping where PCBs and equipment potentially-containing PCBs are located in the country); 

  • putting in place labelling mechanism for all PCB-containing equipment; 

  • establishing adequate storage facilities for replaced equipment-containing PCBs; 

  • formulating guidelines for disposal of equipment-containing PCBs; 

  • disposing safely of equipment containing PCBs. 

  1. Reducing the incineration and open burning of wastes (including medical and hazardous waste), which is the source of 98.6% of U-POPs releases in the country- totaling 153.4 g-TEQ/year; 

  1. Raising awareness through the development of education curricula and targeted awareness campaigns; 

  1. Establishing a standard Chemical Management System, including chemical labelling in multiple languages. 

Major Achievements

  • The Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Technology (MECCT) with the consultancy of Dr Andrea Volpato and a local legal firm, Azur Chambers LLP, has drafted an Overarching Chemical Management Bill. The two consultants have provided expertise from two perspectives - local and international.  

  • The President’s Office received a letter along with supporting documents detailing the mandate overlaps chemical management on November 17 2021, requesting for a policy directive to address overlaps between stakeholders.  

  • GEF-6 ISLANDS Elimination of POPs through Safe Management of Chemicals project held their second Project Steering Committee (PSC) meeting on 22nd December 2021 in Salt Cafe’. 

GESI Component

Implementation of the Gender Action Plan (GAP) to develop gender expertise and creating awareness raising campaigns and empowering Women’s Development Committees. The goal is to ensure that all three project components contain elements of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE).