User Pay Framework

Willingness to Pay for Waste Management in Baa Atoll

Solid waste management has become one of the greatest environmental challenges in Maldives where space is limited and the islands are spread over a large geographical area, making it difficult to implement waste management strategies. Live & Learn undertook a study to assess the attitudes towards waste management and the willingness to pay by the local communities for waste management services in Baa Atoll. There was a consensus for the development of a Regional Waste Management Centre throughout the atoll. The majority were willing to segregate waste at the household level and dispose of it at an appropriate site. More than half of the participants were willing to pay a sum per month to remove the waste from the island. The resorts in the atoll were also prepared to be involved in waste management by helping in the transportation of waste, increasing awareness and also training the islanders to carry out proper waste management.

The User Pays Framework Model developed consists of a set of excel based economic models for fee setting, a guideline for using the excel models, and a board game to be used as a communication tool with the island communities.

Testing methodology

The testing on the islands included a discussion with a few key people, such as an island councilor or island chief, depending on the availability of these people to collect input information on:

  • A few general background information (number of households, institutions, etc)
  • General information on the way waste management is done
  • Quantities and composition of waste
  • Basic economic input and availability of resources
  • Information on economic activities that should be part of the standardization
  • Current modalities for the provision of user pays services and/or fee for services

The information gathered was used directly as an input for the excel calculation model, but also to inform the model about changes that need to occur in the excel input format so that it is suitable and serves the purpose of standardizing waste generators, economic activities, costs and revenues. Part 2 of the testing was looking at the actual waste management practices, by walking through the island and observing illegal dumping places, ways people store and collect waste, pick-up service, dump site and IWMC. Part 3 of testing consisted of meeting with a group of influential people on the island and representatives of typical waste generator units and economic activities. In the meeting the following issues were discussed:

  • Some initial results from the model were presented about total waste quantities per households and typical economic activities and institutions
  • Costs of handling waste and possible user pays fees
  • Good reasons to increase and differentiate fees
  • Good reasons to decrease fees and give credit to good practice
  • Ways of collecting fees and monitoring the system
  • Choices for the future for on-island processing of waste versus lifting waste out of the island
  • Discussion about how choices impact the costs and the fees at island level.

Based on the above data collected the user pay framework model was developed and a Board game was developed to introduce the model to the different stakeholders.