Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) and Dialog Axiata PLC inaugurated the first phase of the ‘Sayura Rakina Rella’ beach clean-up programme along with the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) deployed to protect and preserve the country’s oceans.
The initiative kick started with the collection of over 770 kilograms (KG) of waste material from the Sarakkuwa beach (Negombo) which was handed over to the Wattala Pradeshiya Sabha for its safe and sustainable disposal.
Players from the present Sri Lanka men’s and women’s Rugby teams as well as former Tuskers such as Asoka Jayasena, Hisham Abdeen, Dilroy Perera, Ajith Upawansa, R. M. S. Rathnayake and Jude Pillai, MEPA goodwill ambassadors, musical artists Bathiya and Santhush, young rugby players from the Western Lions Academy and officials from SLR together with the Dialog team volunteered their efforts to the two-hour clean-up to restore the beach to a pristine condition.
At present, Sri Lanka ranks poorly according to a pollution index transcribed by the World Bank, ranking as the fifth worst beach polluter of the world in 2015, mainly due to poor disposal of plastic waste.
On average, a Sri Lankan produces 500g of non-degradable waste per day resulting in a mammoth amount of 100 million KGs of solid waste added into Sri Lanka’s coastal waters, according to 2017 records. During the total two-hour collection process at ‘Sayura Rakina Rella’, 275.89 KG of plastic, 102.6 KG of metal, 83 KG of glass, 250 KG of organic and 63 KG of paper waste was collected.