One sunny evening in April, I walked up to Gurunagar fishing Jetty along the beach road from Jaffna Dutch fort. (Guruanagar is a fishing village located in the East from the Dutch fort) The sunset was amazingly beautiful. No doubt that why people mesmerize with such delightful scenic view. But What I saw along the sea shore from the beginning of the Reclamation road up to the Gurunagar fishing Jetty was not pleasing. The whole costal belt is covered with thick layer of garbage and plastic wastes. Not only that the surroundings of the whole fishing village also was polluted by the dumped garbage and plastic wastes.
As I observed, the plastic consumption is very high within this fishing community. Not only in Gurunagar is the situation same even in other places. Most of the equipment that they have been using for fishing are made out of plastics and plotline materials which are dangerous to be dumped without the process of recycling.
I didn’t notice that the people in Gurunagar has proper system to collect or recycle garbage. As I was informed, the people who live in these fishing communities dump all the garbage and plastic waste to the sea. All these plastics wastes come through the canals and drainage and deposits at the costal belt. I spoke with few men and women of the Gurunagar fishing community and realized that they are not conscious of garbage and plastic waste which are loaded in front of their living premises.
However, I didn’t notice any significant plastic recycle or collecting process or the garbage collecting method here in Jaffna. It requires a series of awareness programs in order to reduce the usage of plastics and introduce sustainable alternatives followed by the system of proper garbage and plastic collecting process and and recycling system. This is not just a responsibility of the community, it is also a responsibility of the government and institutions as well. Also implementing and maintaining appropriate rule of laws is vital. Because this is not just a simple issue anymore. it is does extremely harmful effect to marine ecosystem and biodiversity. This makes greater impact on climate change. The Ocean Conservancy estimates that plastic impact nearly 700 species in the ocean. at least 600 different wildlife species are threatened by plastics waste in the ocean.
News report says EU countries are using its natural resources twice more than ecosystem can renew. SriLanka is dumping 1.59 metric tons of plastics annually into the Indian Ocean.Whole world is dumping 8 million metric tons of plastics to the ocean every year.Sri Lanka is in 5thamong the top 20 countries of marine pollution.
Image copyrights Waruni Anuruddhika
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