The United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Mahaweli Development & Environment marked the ‘National Coastal and Marine Resources Conservation Week’ through a Coastal Cleanup Programme held from 17 September to 23 September 2016, covering approximately 1700 km of the coastal line across 14 Districts of Sri Lanka.
Under the directive of H.E. Maithripala Sririsena, President of Sri Lanka, the third week of September was earmarked as the ‘National Coastal and Marine Resources Conservation Week’. To mark this week, a Coastal Clean-up was organized in Kandakuliya Kuda and Sawukku thottam in the Kalpitiya DS Division on 22 September 2016 to remove the debris and plastic whilst creating public awareness on the importance of a waste-free marine environment.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment in collaboration with UNDP, launched a five-year pilot project, on Enhancing Bio Diversity Conservation and Sustenance of Eco system services in Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs), jointly funded by the Global Environmental Facility and the Government of Sri Lanka. The Project focuses on improving the country’s capacity to manage Environmentally Sensitive Areas, initially piloted in the Kala Oya basin.
Under this Project, UNDP collaborated with the Ministry of Mahaweli Development to organize the Coastal Cleanup together with the Divisional Secretariat – Kalpitiya. District Secretariat – Puttlam, Pradeshiya Saba – Kalpitiya, Disaster Management Centre, Coast Conservation Department, Department of Wildlife Conservation, SL Army/Navy/ Civil Protection Forces, Kite Surfing School /Kite Worldwide, Civil Society Organisations /Fisheries Societies /Tourism Society and the community. Approximately 200 participants actively participated to clean an 8km stretch of the coastal line in the area. The Programme ended with a community dialogue on sustainable initiatives to strengthen a waste disposal mechanism.
Further to the estuary of the Kala Oya, the ESA Project also encompasses the marine areas including the Bar Reef in Kalpitiya and will now support the creation of a buffer zone for the bar reef, coupled with integrated wider landscape based management plans to minimize threats on the ecosystems.