Make a splash-clean it up | Sunday Observer

Make a splash-clean it up

Marine pollution, a widely talked about subject around the world has grabbed the attention of the public to help make the beaches safe and healthier for all marine life. Sri Lanka, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region known for its golden beaches, is slowly losing its attractiveness due to polluted beaches, specially due to polythene and plastic.

A group of young people representing the Twitter community rallied together to clean the Mount Lavinia beach as their initial step towards clean beaches around the island.

This week Young Voice contacted @BuduMalli, one of the organisers of the event #BeachCleanUpLK, a great initiative to protect the Ocean and its creatures.

What is #BeachCleanUpLK ?

It is an event organised by the Twitter community of Sri Lanka. We have done quite a lot of social awareness events in the past and this time we thought of organising a beach cleanup. The event took place on July 1st, at Mount Lavinia beach. Our objective was to address and prevent the widespread plastic waste in Sri Lanka’s coastal areas due to the mismanagement of waste and improper garbage disposal practices in the coastal area.

How did the concept to hold such an event come about?

The initial idea to hold this event came from @nthathsarani5 and that was on June 16. Then later @ AmithMalinga and @BuduMalli joined the discussion and a hashtag was created on June 18th for the event to create community driven discussions by @BuduMalli. We started the awareness campaign on June 23rd and ten tweeps who showed their interest to join the event as organisers got together and planned the event.

Any special reason to select Mount Lavinia beach?

We found out that Mount Lavinia beach is one of the most polluted beaches around Colombo with mainly plastic waste and Mount Lavinia has no proper dumping grounds. So many people bring plastic items to this area since it is a public beach. Beach restaurants too use many plastic items.

What were your main concerns when organising #BeachCleanUpLK?

Reports say every Sri Lankan throws 5.1 kilos of plastic and bottles and that for every person in Sri Lanka 0.299 kg of plastic is mismanaged and the country generates an average of 5,163,689 kilos of plastic waste per day.

Also when researching along the subject we found that the biggest problem is every tide brings new litter and plastic and things like fragments of straws, bottle lids, brightly coloured parts of old plastics. So we focussed more on making the beach free from those.

How was the response from the fellow Tweeps?

We received a very positive response from the Tweeps. Nearly 90 people registered for the event and 75+ people participated. Majority helped us spread the message to the other networks as well, including the Colombo Mayor, Famous cricket figures, influencers, social media figures and politicians. We were actually pretty overwhelmed by the response we got for the campaign and we are really grateful to those who helped to make it a success.

Who were the sponsors and how helpful were they?

We have called for only few sponsors. Sri Lanka Tourist Dev Authority (SLTDA) helped us by sponsoring breakfast for all the participants, and Dialog Telecom joined us providing caps, gloves and bio degradable garbage bags. WishQue Pvt limited staff joined beach cleanup and provided tea time snacks for all the participants.

Also some tweeps helped us by providing sand rails, water bottles and paper cups and few other items for the event.

Who were the organising committee for #BeachCleanUpLK?

Organizing team consisted of 10 tweeps and many of them are well known on the platform. Namely, @BuduMalli, @nthathsarani5,@indika27,@Twin_Ayya,@AmithMalinga, @Lovely_Paba,@vishiru, @Kaniya1_ , @ItsPaull, @ranukad.

What do you have to say about the support given by the Twitter community when organising such events? Any plans to hold events like this in the future?

What we always believe is that if the intention is good and if people accept it as a good cause definitely you can do something and make a change. When talking about the Twitter community it is mainly team work.

The influencers join the campaign and help the organizers to crowd source. Compared to Face Book or Instagram platforms twitter has that power, power to make a change and make awareness.

Yes, we will definitely have more events; maybe we will take #BeachCleanUpLK around the country to create more awareness around the island beaches.

Any message you would like to give to the public?

I encourage people to do mini beach cleanups and empower communities around the beaches and people who visit the area to protect it. Let’s use ‘the rule of three’ - take a minimum of three pieces home. So we can keep our beaches clean and alive.

By taking part in these kinds of events you are leaving a great example to others on how to reduce marine debris in the seas and allowing wildlife to remain safe from pollution. Protecting the environment you live in is your responsibility.

So make sure you do your part!