The Maldives is a tropical paradise on Earth, all white beaches and clear water. That’s the image the island nation portrays to the tourists, at least, and all those tourists don’t come without a price.
Thilafushi is a man-made island that was created as a landfill.
The best of intentions may have gone along with its inception, but with more than 10,000 tourists flooding the vacation paradise every week—well, that’s a lot of trash.
The so-called Rubbish Island is home to about 150 people, whose job it is to sift through the garbage and figure out what can be recycled, what can be burned, and what can be exported to other countries.
But with more than 330 tons of garbage being dumped on the island every day, it’s a losing battle—and a horrifying sight that’s hidden from the tourists.
Unfortunately, the sheer amount of garbage means that workers have to be less and less discerning when it comes to what they do with the trash.
Much of it is burned, and that includes electronics, batteries, and plastics, all dumping their smoky byproducts into the air and water.