Police probe washing up of waste on Mount Lavinia beach

Police probe washing up of waste on Mount Lavinia beach

Police probe washing up of waste on Mount Lavinia beach

Written by Staff Writer

05 Jun, 2020 | 9:19 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): The police has launched a probe into the waste that had been washed up on the Mount Lavinia beach, as the world celebrated environment day on Friday.

“We will take appropriate legal action against anyone who pollutes canals or waterways with polythene or plastic,” Deshabandu Tennakoon, the senior DIG in charge of the Western Province said.

On Thursday, large amounts of waste had washed up on the Mount Lavinia beach, which is surrounded in controversy over the government’s beach nourishment project.

“The change in wind direction and sea waves had resulted in waste being washed up on the Mount Lavinia beach,” Dr P.B. Terney Pradeep Kumara, the general manager of the Marine Environment Protection Authority said.

He added that large amounts of plastic and polythene flow into the seas off Colombo and the western region from the Kelani river, Wellawatte, and Dehiwala.

Clean-up activities at the beach had commenced with the participation of the police, municipal council employees, and volunteer groups.

Environmentalists point out that the pollution of beaches could have an impact on the country’s key revenue-generating tourist industry as they are hotspots for tourists.

“Materials like polythene and plastic destroy the beauty of the beach,” Pubudu Weerarathna, an environmentalist lamented.

Meanwhile, environmentalists have also been raising concerns over the Mount Lavinia beach nourishment project, under which sand had been filled on the beach stretch.

“…no studies or an Environmental Impact Assessment had been completed,” Prof. Charitha Pattiaratchi from the University of Western Australia said.

Prof. Pattiaratchchi was among three experts that included marine biologists Asha de Vos and Nadiya Azmy, who published a report citing the project as a futile exercise.

Authorities have defended the project, stating that it had been carried out to create a wide beach in Wellawatte and to prevent soil erosion along the Mount Lavinia beach stretch.

“I don’t think that the desired outcome of a 15-metre beach in Wellawatte will eventuate because it has not been designed properly,” Prof. Pattiarachchi emphasized.

He said that it will require at least two years or two monsoonal seasons to restore the beach to what it was before the project had been implemented.

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