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Sri Lanka gets Korean support to tackle worsening marine pollution

ECONOMYNEXT – South Korea is to help Sri Lanka tackle its worsening marine pollution, especially from plastic waste and industrial effluent, which can affect fisheries and tourism, a government spokesman said.

A study on the sources and impact of marine debris in Sri Lanka is to be done by surveying marine debris on the beach and underwater.

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the Cabinet of Ministers has approved a project proposal under which Expo 2012 YEOSU Korea Foundation, which works to support sustainable development, will help with the study.

It will be done through an agreement with Sri Jayawardenepura University and the Marine Environmental Protection Authority to ensure sustainable fisheries and tourism, he told a news conference.

The project will help to establish a policy to cope with marine debris, help Sri Lankan scientists to use equipment to survey marine debris and develop educational material to educate the public.

Recent studies show the amount of plastic waste that gets into the sea from Sri Lanka each year is 240,000 – 640,000 tonnes, according to the proposal made by President Maithripala Sirisena, in his capacity as the Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment.

Marine debris, which mostly comes from land-based activity, can travel the whole world with ocean currents and wind.

Other studies have shown alarming levels of heavy metal accumulation in edible species in coastal water bodies like the Negombo lagoon and Bolgoda Lake believed to be originating from nearby industrial zones like Katunayake and Ekala and municipal sources. (Colombo/April 28 2016)

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