MEPA campaign against plastic and polythene | Sunday Observer

MEPA campaign against plastic and polythene

A polluted beach
A polluted beach

“A meaningful Poson sans Plastic and Polythene” was the theme of the national campaign against plastic and polythene launched by the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) last Friday, June 14, 2019.

On Poson full moon poya day, MEPA will carry out their awareness programme at various temples noted a media release from MEPA. “It is our national responsibility to reduce the use of plastic and polythene and when using to dispose them in a proper manner afterwards, rather than haphazardly” it reported.

According to a recent research published in the Science, Magazine, Sri Lanka was the 5th marine polluter in the world with over one million metric tonnes (MT 1.6 m) of mismanaged waste, out of which 0.64 million MT ending up as marine debris. The fact most people do not realise is that 90 percent of plastics that pollute the marine environment are generated inland. Waste thus generated is carried through waterways and rivers and end up as marine debris.

Though Sri Lanka banned single use plastic early last year, the problem of plastic waste still continues plastic and polythene are disposed haphazardly even in most sacred religious places of worship. The mounds of plastic, removed from the sacred mount of Sri Pada, at the end of an annual pilgrim season is proof of how much plastic waste we generate. Poson is a time when thousands of pilgrims visit Buddhist pilgrim sites and a time when mounds of plastic waste are collected at those sites.

The campaign tries to minimize the use of plastics and polythene by introducing traditional alternatives to plastic cups, flower baskets and pots pilgrims bring in for temple worship during the Poson festival season.

The plastic debris ending up in the coastal and marine environment around the island aggravates pollution in those areas, noted the media release. While adversely affecting the coral reefs and marine bio diversity, the polluted beaches would also discourage tourists from visiting Sri Lanka, it noted. Sri Lanka is world renowned for its ‘golden’ beaches, a major tourist attraction to the country.

The campaign which focuses on Buddhist temples and Poson pilgrim sites during the Poson festival will be gradually spread out to other places of religious worship thereon.