International coastal cleanup day, 2015

SACEP and Coastal Clean-up Day

Coastal clean-up activities is highly relevant as the five maritime countries of South Asia are endeavored with coastal and marine resources which have enormous potential to develop sustainable tourism industry. SACEP organized national workshops in Bangladesh, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka in February-March 2010 to propagate the idea of beach certification. These workshop provided a platform to further development of national programmes. Individual countries have agreed to pursue a follow up on Beach certification programme. Marine litter arising from land based littering and disposal of solid wastes by ships is a growing problems in the SAS region. A framework to deal with the issue has already been suggested in the marine litter activities. As a support to this, SACEP has proposed to observe a day in the 3rd week of September as a coastal cleanup day as it was done in India. Accordingly, 5th Inter Ministerial Meeting (IMM) approved the proposal to observe a day in the 3rd week of September for the observation of coastal clean-up day as it will enhance awareness on the negative impact of marine litter in the region.

Activities for the year 2015, in Sri Lanka

To join the global community, the South Asian Cooperative Environment Programme in partnership with the Marine Environment Protection Agency Sri Lanka commemorated the day his excellency Mr. Maithripala Sirisena the President of Sri Lanka and high ranking dignitaries, diplomats and citizens from all walk of life participated and cleaned the Gale face beach Colombo. The programme continued for five days and covered the whole of Sri Lanka Island from city to city all along the beach. Tonnes of litter/garbage was collected and the local community actively participated in the events at different locations. The other four countries of the South Asian Seas Programme (SASP) namely Bangladesh, India, Maldives and Pakistan also joining hands and observed this week on their respective beaches.

International Coastal Clean-up Day, 2015

About the Day

International coastal cleanup is global event initiated by ocean conservancy in 1986. It is the largest volunteer effort for ocean's health. People around the world gather on beaches, coasts, rivers, waterways and underwater dive sites aiming at cleaning the litter that human being dump on beaches and ultimately into the marine environment leading to its pollution. The international Beach Cleanup day being commemorated on the 3rd week of September every year. WWF has reported that due to pollution of marine ecosystem, marine biodiversity has slashed by half compared to what we had in seventies. In another study it has been observed that marine waters are now loaded with trillion of pieces of plastic objects and in fifties there were zero plastic objects in sea/ocean. Such a huge load of pollution has greatly affected the future food basket and trillion of dollars of offshore income and livelihood generation activities.

Programme activities in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka owns a marine zone which is approximately 8 times larger than that of its land area. The country has 1700 km of coast line. To clean up the whole coat line, Sri Lanka has taken country with beach cleanup programme from 19-24 September to fulfil the following objectives:

  • To quantify the  composition of marine debris
  • To make general public awareness
  • To enhance public participation
  • To ensure sustainability of marine and coastal environment

1017 km of coast has been cleaned up under 14 coastal district of 5 provinces in Sri Lanka. The programme by dividing the coastal line into 2 km long segment. Each segment is called as site. 100 person were engaged per site (for1017 km 50,600 volunteers were participated in this activity at 506 sites along the coast line. Students, Sri Lanka coast Guard, Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Army, other government organizations, NGO, community based organization were involved in the cleaning process.