180 kms away from Colombo, just outside of Kalpitiya at a nondescript turnoff towards the sea, there is a dolphin sculpture that’s filled with trash collected from the adjoining Kudawa beach.
The dolphin sculpture was made by Ukrainian couple Dima Dubovik and Ksy Artishock and installed with donated materials and labour on July 19, 2018. The team was made up of volunteer local community member leaders with the organizing team made up of a group of friends from Ananta Sustainables, a sustainable packaging company based in Colombo, Project Eklok from India, which works to connect backpackers with local communities, Clean City, a waste management initiative based in Nepal and Lost in Ceylon, a Sri Lanka-centric travel blog. “We wanted something that would grab the attention of anybody using the beach. The art was used as a medium to spur dialogue about the issue of waste management in the community, and its effect on marine ecosystems,” said local resident Savera Weerasinghe, founder of Ananta Sustainables.
“Sadly most of the time it is our local tourists from all over Sri Lanka who throw their garbage on our beaches after their dolphin watching trips. We have tried telling them but they don’t seem to care.”
The small, windy town of Kalpitiya has experienced a sudden rise in tourism in recent years, largely due to its growing reputation for dolphin watching and kite surfing. This has left it unprepared for the worsening trash problem that poses a threat to its rich ecosystem. Off the shores of Kalpitiya are mangrove lined islands, a diverse range of marine life, many species of migratory birds, the Bar Reef Sanctuary, the Kala Oya Estuary and Wilpattu National Park. Residents have begun to notice the impact that tourists and locals have on the environment.
Two such people are Sugath Emmanuel, the Head of one of Kalpitiya’s fishermen’s associations and Priyankara Almeida, a local fisherman who worked with the team to organize two beach cleanups on Kudawa beach to collect the trash that went into the sculpture. “Sadly most of the time it is our local tourists from all over Sri Lanka who throw their garbage on our beaches after their dolphin watching trips. We have tried telling them but they don’t seem to care,” said Sugath Emmanuel. While the members of Project Eklok and Clean City have returned to their respective countries, Ananta Sustainables and Lost in Ceylon intend to continue their efforts around Sri Lanka to address the issues of plastic pollution while enlisting the help of anyone who is willing to lend a hand. “Visual storytelling was a huge part of the social media strategy for the Kalpitiya project. Our aim was to portray plastic trash using beautiful imagery that would evoke a deeper, emotional connection with viewers.” Tashiya de Mel of ‘Lost in Ceylon’ said.
If you want more information on how you can get involved with any new projects visit the Lost in Ceylon Facebook page or ZeroWasteLanka on Instagram, they are always on the look out for people passionate about keeping this beautiful country clean.
Source: Tashiya de Mel