'Walking around Thilafushi is hellish. To protect yourself against toxic exhalations, you have to put a scarf over your face, and you can easily twist your ankle climbing mountains of trash. Behind concrete block walls you can see piles and piles of plastic bottles. Down the road, in the poisonous fog, garbage trucks dump their load’
Le Monde, May 2012 .
Waste disposal is a growing problem for Maldives, especially since the tourism industry has grown up in the latest years. To address the problem, the government of Maldives in 1992 established a landfill in Thilafushi, an artificial island on an artificial lagoon located few km from Malè, the capital of Maldives. Thilafushi has a length of 7 km and a width of 200 meters at the shallowest regions.  The waste disposal centre was initially started as the main landfill for Male’, but presently also waste from nearby atolls and resorts are disposed there.
Today, twenty years later since it was created, the size of the dump has grown as much as the local population and the tourist industry becoming, as defined by local environmentalists, a 'toxic bomb in the ocean'.  Garbage transported to Thilafushi is dumped in large piles and than eventually buried or used to reclaim land and increase the size of the island. Municipal waste and hazardous waste are stored together in the fill and there are no safe disposal for hazardous waste such as batteries, lead, asbestos and mercury. Scrap metals such as copper, tin, zinc, steel, plastic bottle, cardboard boxes and used oil are also sorted in the landfill and than exported to India. Moreover the increasing number of tourists and the spread of electronic devices among the country lead to a growth in disposal of used batteries and other potentially harmful electronic or e-waste which are not appropriately treated.
Following the statements of Bluepeace , the main ecological movement of the Maldives, the practice to bury the litter to gain space on the island, lead to potentially dangerous consequences. If toxic products such as mercury, lead or asbestos leak into the sea, it will have a dramatic effect on the undersea environment, and could even find its way into the food chain- if ingested by the local fauna. Moreover, when it is not buried, due to the luck of incinerators, the trash is burned in open air producing a disgusting smoke.
In 2011 the Malé City Council temporarily banned the transporting of waste to Thilafushi because of a surge in waste floating in the island's lagoon and drifting out to sea. The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has blamed “impatient” boat captains unable to unload their waste.
Head of the EPA, Ibrahim Naeem, said that mechanism for waste collection and disposal needs to be improved and that people who are bringing in the garbage and contributing to its buildup need to take responsibility. However no reasoning was made on the fact that the waste exceeds the capacity of Thilafushi nor on the unsustainable trends of Maldives Tourism industry .
The Thilafushi case is the biggest example of a problem that occurs all over the country. Resorts based on the Western consumption patterns rose up all over the Maldives islands and produce a large amount of waste which exceed the capacity of little islands.
This is an important issue to add to the several Maldive's ecological woes, of which one of the most important is the rise of the sea levels due to the global warming.
Maldivian authorities are struggling to minimize the toxic effects from Thilafushi. A new law is on the ropes, to limit the types of garbage that are destined for combustion: “Only organic materials,” Ahmed Murthaza says. At the same time, the Maldives is starting to export its recyclable waste, mostly iron and plastic, to China, Malaysia and neighboring India. (For further info See ).
In 2011 the Thilafushi Island was at the core of a corruption case that involved Heavy Load Maldives, the family enterprise of ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik, the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party’s parliamentary group leader. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filled a case for the 21 Us million dredging project for Thilafushi island conducted by Heavy Load Maldives with a contact issued by Thilafushi Corporation Limited (TCL). Moreover The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also expressed concern over the project, which it claimed had “started work” prior to being issued an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).