Maldives: “Paradise Drowning”, partly due to tourism?

April 22, 2008

A tourist from London plays with her daughter on the jetty outside the Maldivian resort of Banyan Tree on January 9, 2005. Most tourists are leaving the Maldives after the atoll nation was hit by the Asian tsunami. REUTERS/Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi AL/TWThe Maldives has a dilemma — it fears that rising seas caused by global warming could wipe the country off the map but it doesn’t want to restrict tourists who visit the Indian Ocean coral islands in aircraft whose emissions are a cause of climate change.

Read Melanie Lee and Neil Chatterjee’s story about the problem faced by President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who is writing a book about “Paradise Drowning” but wants to keep the tourist-dependent economy going.

What should countries like the Maldives do?

Ending poverty is the overriding goal for developing nations, but how far should they take part in fighting global warming, caused by people in rich nations on the other side of the world?

Would high green taxes on visitors help? Or would that be just a symbolic pinprick in the problem of global warming that could drive holidaymakers to pick another tropical destination?

What do you think?


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[…] But not from toursim… […]

Posted by Paradise Drowning and you are…??? « Welcome to Shahid Live | Report as abusive

are you saying that cutting flights to maldives will make a much difference..???
the developed nations can afford to cut down…not the developing nations…tourism is the only way for us to eat…

are you guys crazy at reuters???

Posted by adhu | Report as abusive

yes i say it happend in orlando fl. in 2003 i was looking for enployment and even disney would not hire me(no dont laugh)i was told that not only a year ago they couldnt keep enough staff to meet there needs,they where literly
hireing folks of the street and i heard from more than one source,and at the time they had no openings,so if you where there,in2003-2004 and your potty wasnt clean
dont blame it on

Posted by ceres | Report as abusive

I don’t know who’s crazy ‘ who’s insane and who’s normal, but I think that the stories about the “rising” of see level in Indian Ocean just confuse everyone.There is no any prove of rising the see level in Maldives. And it’s obvious the new islands have been formed!

Regarding the subject of the article – “rising” the number of the islands resorts will not change neither the climate nor the holidaymakers to pick another tropical destination.

But something else could make the “Terrastrians” to change the planet!

Posted by Dana | Report as abusive

I dont think that going back to stone age is the solution for the problem. Of course global warming is happening and we all are experiencing it. What we need is innovative and efficient environmental friendly ideas and work upon that. We as human beigns tackled the problem of ozone layer by reducing green house gases in 90’s. So why cant we do it now?, what we need is to keep our differences away and work toghether for the future.
The only difference between the 90’s and now is that, we dont have a large whole in the ozone layer over Australia, but small islands like us are in big trouble for something we havnt even done for.

Posted by ziggy | Report as abusive

Before seeking international aid President Gayyoom should cut his own expenses. He is currently spending US$18,000.00 per hour. Isn’t this absurd?

B Naseem

Posted by Badr Naseem | Report as abusive

amazing this president has no knowledge about tourism or economy , more about environment all he writes is internet cut copy paste. President Gayoom has to step down and make room for a proper democracy. His environment policy failed wen he went ahead with is Hulumale project the reclaiming and dreging of sea near the International Airport. That was the ultimate nail in the head. ref: web site : Hulumale city

Posted by Monique | Report as abusive

Mr Gayoom’s much touted environmentalism flies in the face of his failure to walk his talk. It is only reasonable to expect of him to be a role model for his own people and the world, when he expresses concern for sea level rise and advocates for steeper cuts in global green house gas emissions.

His carbon footprint is immense. He lives in a palace with its own power station and desalination plants. There are 20 odd cars housed in air-conditioned garages, a good number of boats; all for one person’s pleasure and all powered by fossil fuel, not by solar or clean energy. Here is a man who, during some of his visits to islands the size of a football stadium, ships his Mercedes in advance, for a drive lasting few seconds. Moreover, he usually charters or uses separate aircraft for his official overseas travel.

The international community should take note of these double standards.

Posted by Hassan | Report as abusive

The Hulhumale’ Project is an innovative solution to the congestion problem on Male’, the capital. It is actually ‘raised’ 3 feet higher than other islands on the archipelago. In fact, the tsunami of December 2004 did not affect Hulhumale’ and its residents. Further, there was a comprehensive EIA done prior to dredging, so criticising the President for the project is unwarranted.

The leader of the Maldives opposition recently said “Gayoom keeps talking about some rising seas…I dont understand it…he shouldnt spend public money to go to international conferences to speak on the subject”. The man does not know that the people of the Maldives are already suffering because of beach erosion, fresh water salinity and sea swells. How ignorant!

Also, the opposition in the Maldives are trying their level best to brush the climate change issue under the carpet in fear that an already overwhelmingly popular President Gayoom will have a further card to play during the upcoming elections. They just cannot compete with him on environmental policy. His reputation on that front is global!

Posted by Malik | Report as abusive

I have some friends from Taiwan who visited the Maldives last fall and had a lovely 10 days there. Paradise on Earth, they told me. I think that for now, if the island nation needs the tourism revenue, go ahead with the flights. It’s a small picture. The big picture is that global warming will devastate the world 500 years from now, and the Maldives by then will be under water. But now, they might as well enjoy Paradise and make some money while they are at it. 500 years from now, their descendants won’t have any islands to live in. They will all have migrated north to Russia and Canada to live in polar cities. So let the Maldives enjoy life while they can and make some money too. Sure.

What will polar cities look like? Here:

Posted by danny bloom | Report as abusive

fact is every persone who know the maldives knows we are in grave danger due to climate change, still there mantality is to enjoy the paradise while they can rather than trying to preserve it

Posted by maldiviano | Report as abusive