Addressing marine plastic issue at source | Daily News


 

MAS Pilots Innovative Trash Trap Project

Addressing marine plastic issue at source

In a country that is rich in biodiversity and marine ecosystems, today the stunning natural reserves of Sri Lanka face considerable threat due to the issue of plastic pollution. While beautiful stretches of golden sand fringe the nation, many of them are covered in the remnants of our own consumerism, with plastic waste lining the beaches. Data from Environment Ministry suggests approximately 400 MT of plastic waste is generated daily within Sri Lanka.

MAS Holdings is piloting an innovative solution to cap the problem at the source itself, by capturing plastic waste in the rivers and canals which play a critical role in transporting mismanaged plastic waste from land to ocean. By installing trash traps in the canals that push plastic waste into our oceans, MAS plans to address the issue head on by trapping, collecting and removing plastic waste before reaching the ocean. The pilot of the proposed solution, a prototype ‘ocean strainer’ trash trap, was placed in the Dehiwala canal recently, to prevent plastic waste from reaching the ocean through the canal mouth. The pilot, which is an expansion of MAS’s ocean plastics initiative, was launched on recently with the participation of Local Government and Environmental Affairs Ministry (Western Province) Secretary Chandrani Samarakoon, Ministry of Local Government of the Western Provincial Council, Director – Planning Sumith Nishantha Perera, MAS Holdings Environmental Sustainability Director Sharika Senanayake and other members of the respective teams.

“The issue of marine plastics is a complex one. Not only must the oceans be cleaned of existing plastics that pollute the waters and beaches, but new plastic waste must be stopped from entering the oceans. Different forms of trash traps are used around the world to collect floating waste from rivers, preventing mismanaged trash from inland waterways from reaching the oceans. At MAS, we started working on the ocean plastic issue in 2015, not only to help clear up our beaches of plastic waste, but also to upcycle that waste by recycling the plastic to create yarn that can be used in our products. Developing the ‘ocean strainer’ is the next step in this effort, to create a more sustainable approach to addressing the marine plastic issue by capturing it at the source”, said MAS Holdings Sustainable Business Head Sid Amalean.

This initiative is the result of successful private-public collaboration between MAS, the Western Provincial Council, the Marine Environment Protection Authority, the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (SLLRDC), with the support of the Western Province Tourism Development Authority, the Environmental Police and the people of the Dehiwala area.

Commenting on the collaboration, Chandrani Samarakoon stated, “Under the guidance of the Hon. Governor of the Western Province, the Ministry of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Tourism has been actively engaged in implementing several initiatives to conserve the overall natural environment of the Western Province. In order to protect the coastal environment of the area, the Ministry in partnership with our private sector partner for this project, MAS Holdings, planned the installation of a floating controlled trash trap at the Dehiwala canal with the aim of preventing plastic and polythene waste floating to the ocean via the canal mouth. This will be implemented and monitored as a pilot project, and depending on its success, the Ministry plans to expand this model in other canals that are situated in the Western Province that directly connect to the ocean. We sincerely appreciate the contribution of all stakeholders and partners in carrying out this pilot project.”

-YS


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