Ship’s environmental damage cannot be calculated in Dollars - Minister | Daily News

Ship’s environmental damage cannot be calculated in Dollars - Minister

 Environmental Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said the effects of the environmental damage caused by the X-Press Pearl ship will remain for another 20 years and this cannot be quantified in Dollars.

The Minister expressing views at a media briefing at the Environment Ministry yesterday said the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) is investigating a possible oil spill from the ship.

“The media is inquiring whether there is an oil leak from the sunken ship. So I asked about it.

The Chairman of MEPA informed me that a team from her institution had already been sent to the site of the ship to investigate and obtain the relevant oil samples”.The minister explaining contents within the ill-fated ship said there were 193 items in 1,486 containers.

“The ship had a large number of containers containing plastic pallets.

Two major companies in our country had plastic pallets on board for two months. There are eight major plastic and polythene based companies in our country”.

He said a large portion of the plastic which had fellen into the ocean have been collected after they were washed ashore. “We do not know how much more were consumed by fish in the ocean as well. According to the information I have, plastic pallets piled up on the beach have been collected and stored in 40 containers for destruction”.

The minister said this shows how much plastic is imported to the country in a year. “Less than 10 percent of this is recycled and the rest is released into the environment,” he added.

The minister said Sri Lanka should receive compensation and if anyone is found responsible for wrongdoing they should be identified and punished.

The minister said CID has already commenced investigations in this regard on the instructions of the President. He said the Justice Minister had stated at the Cabinet meeting that two cases have already been filed in this regard.

“But as the Environment Minister, I say the damage caused by the sinking of the ship cannot be measured in Dollars. This caused a great deal of environmental damage. The carcasses of sea creatures such as turtles and dolphins are now washing ashore”. All those involved in this devastation must be legally punished. Journalists asked the Minister if the perpetrators had been identified.

The Minister replied that the chemicals in this ship are as reported. It appears that neither the harbour nor the Harbour Master was notified of a leak. Therefore, the Captain of the ship as well as the agent in our country of that shipping company are responsible. Also the VDR device will reveal more people responsible and all of them should be punished, he said.




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