Making a difference in the Maldives

Coral propagation at the Fairmont Maldives resort

“A hub of eco-education” is how the Fairmont Maldives describes its new Sustainability Lab.

The resort is located on Sirru Fen Fushi in Shaviyani Atoll, one of the country’s biggest resort lagoons, and behind the project is resident marine biologist and sustainability manager Sam Dixon, who says it forms part of a wider “Save the Ocean” programme.

Fairmont Maldives’ mission is not only to recycle all plastics waste generated by the resort but also that of local communities – and ultimately to help remove ocean plastics from the Maldivian environment altogether. 

It is using specialised machinery to repurpose plastic waste collected from the beach, reef and ocean into bespoke souvenirs for guests and products such as building bricks and furniture for local communities. 

In this way it plans to make the Sustainability Lab a recycling centre for the entire atoll and beyond, with surrounding islands encouraged to collect, sort and send over their plastic waste. 

The resort, known for its Coralarium artificial reef containing Jason deCaires Taylor sculptures, has also partnered with seven local schools to educate pupils on the importance of marine conservation and climate change.

While the children can go to see the Sustainability Lab in action, resort guests are invited to join the team to collect plastic waste, learn how to use the machinery and create their own recycled products.

Staff at the Sustainability Lab
Manta rays
The house reef
The Coralarium contains Jason deCaires Taylor sculptures and forms an artificial reef

Fairmont Maldives has also launched a Turtle Ranger programme to teach guests about conservation techniques to better protect endangered species, and help the marine biologist in collecting Photo ID tracking data on behalf of the local Olive Ridley Project. This involves protecting turtle nests, assisting hatchlings from nest to ocean and rescuing turtles entangled in ghost nets.

The resort now tracks more than 50 resident hawksbills and last year released more than 1,200 baby green turtles born on the east coast.

For scuba divers who want to be part of the project, a one-week B&B stay in a Beach Sunrise Villa at the Fairmont Maldives starts at £2,058pp. A package of 10 guided boat dives including kit hire costs £773.

With youth in mind

Also keen to make a difference is the 5* Mӧvenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives in Noonu Atoll, 45 minutes north of Male. It says it is collaborating with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to support its climate-change campaign in the country. 

The Mӧvenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives

The resort has signed an advocacy collaboration agreement to help UNICEF achieve sustainable development goals specifically for children in the Maldives.

It has committed to providing support, including careers mentorship and internship opportunities, while promoting sustainable tourism, raising awareness of a campaign to help young people become conservation champions on their own islands, and using its premises as a teaching site to raise climate-change awareness. 

The resort is also carrying out a fund-raising campaign in support of young people’s development until 21 January 2023, mainly in Noonu and Gaafu Alifu Atolls.

The Mӧvenpick resort has 72 overwater pool villas, 30 beach pool suites and three beach spa pool residences, the Dive Butler dive and watersports centre and five dining options. 

A seven-night stay for two in an overwater pool villa with breakfasts costs US $5,012 including all taxes. A 10-dive shore package costs $650pp, with boat fees adding $200pp and equipment hire $340pp. Find out more from Mӧvenpick Resorts.


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