The Maldives has one of the most delicate environments anywhere on the planet. Coral reefs are the foundation of the islands. They offer protection to the tiny islands as its natural defense system, and the country’s economy depends heavily on the health of its reefs and ecosystems.
Several conservation efforts are underway to protect the valuable marine environment of Maldives. While several marine species and birds are protected by law, protected areas have been designated to ensure the conservation of specific ecosystems and the rich biodiversity of the country. This includes designated nature reserves in islands of various atolls to protect wetlands and mangroves and the protection of marine areas and the designation of biosphere reserves that covers coral reefs, islands, sea grass beds and mangroves.
Several resorts too conduct their own programs. While some programs conducted by resorts focus on the protection and rehabilitation of sea turtles, others are engaged in cutting edge research on regeneration of coral reefs. Several community education programs are also conducted by resorts for school children and the community at large. Non-governmental organizations also play an important role through their voluntary programs and conduct regular beach and reef clean up programs.
Visitors to Maldives are advised to carry back their own non-biodegradable waste and to take care not to stand on, touch or remove coral structures while snorkeling or diving.