AA. Atoll’s Blue Economy Desk pitches idea for underwater mosque

Vittorio Coco, founder and coordinator of AA. Atoll’s Blue Economy Desk, makes his presentation to Environment Minister Aminath Shauna on November 29, 2022. (Photo/Vittorio Coco)

The Blue Economy Desk at AA. Atoll Council and the AA. Rasdhoo Council have pitched their blue economy vision for Rasdhoo, which includes a proposal to build an underwater mosque, to Environment Minister Aminath Shauna.

Four executives from the Rasdhoo Council, led by Vittorio Coco, ICT4SIDS’ regional director for South Asia and founder and coordinator of AA. Atoll’s Blue Economy Desk, presented their blue economy vision in a meeting with Shauna at the Environment Ministry headquarters in Male’ on November 29.

The highlight of the presentation was a proposal to build an underwater mosque in Rasdhoo Madivaru, a popular dive site and biodiversity hotspot located at the intersection of Rasdhoo and Madivaru, which was designated a protected area by the Maldivian government in 2018.

Coco, 75, is an Italian who has been residing in Rasdhoo for the past three years.

He had nothing but good things to say about his experience in Rasdhoo.

“I am a foreigner, now 75, with a long experience of international activities and wonderful encounters with people of all status in dozens of countries, but never before I have worked with such a deep integration within a faith-based community who is open to take challenges compatible with their spiritual self and to expand the mind to embrace the conservation of biodiversity and marine ecosystems by possibly adopting bold solutions which were so far unthinkable,” he told Sun.

Coco proposed calling the mosque the Al-Mizan Mosque.

According to Coco, the mosque will be a partially submerged structure, with the floor above leading down to the floor underwater.

Coco said that the immersed walls will be built with eco cement and glass, and that part of the immersed walls will also host coral farming and marine plants.

He said the mosque will be open to public.

“It will be a strong symbol of faith for conservation of biodiversity,” he said.

According to Coco, they have received a positive reaction from Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW), an international architectural practice, regarding the proposed project.

He asked Shauna for an endorsement from the Maldivian government for the project.

Coco said that the backbone for the blue economy vision for Rasdhoo is an ocean-to-hydrogen project, which requires two main infrastructure; a green hydrogen pilot plant – a seven megawatt solar plant to feed three megawatt electrolyzer connected to desalination plant to produce 100 to 300 tons of hydrogen a year for domestic use like power generation and decarbonization of marine transport, and an ocean pavilion – which will host labs, classrooms and education initiatives backed by the University of Genoa and the National University of Ireland-Galway.

According to Coco, Shauna commented that the implementation of the projects would be a “game changer” for the future of Maldives.