The Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) of Sri Lanka received eight (08) BeachTech Hydro Sweepy beach cleaning machinery worth about US$180,000, donated by Singapore-based global non-profit, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (Alliance).
The donation was formally handed over by Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage to State Minister of Coast Conservation & Low-Lying Lands Development Mohan Priyadarshana De Silva, and Chairperson of Marine Environment Protection Authority Dharshani Lahandapura at a ceremony held today.
BeachTech Hydro Sweepy beach cleaning machines manufactured by Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG, a company in Germany, are capable of effectively and efficiently cleaning up the plastic nurdles and other types of waste. Another advantage of the machine is that beach clean-up can be done in a safe manner minimizing the human contact with hazardous materials.
These machines are expected to help with the clean-up of plastic waste from the ship X-Press Pearl, which sank off Sri Lanka’s West Coast in May 2021 causing significant environmental damage. The donation was coordinated by the High Commission of Sri Lanka in Singapore.
The Alliance reached out to the High Commission in June this year as it is a Global Non- Profit that focuses on ending plastic waste in the environment globally and were concerned about the impact of plastic pellets from the X-Press Pearl incident and its possible impact on the marine environment.
The initial discussions on assistance from the Alliance was held virtually with the participation of High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Singapore Sashikala Premawardhane, Director General/ Ocean Affairs, Environment and Climate Change of the Foreign Ministry Hasanthi Dissanayake, the General Manager of the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) Dr. Terney Pradeep Kumara, and Alliance representatives Vice President of Projects Nicholas Kolesch, Head of Outreach and Education Kim Stengert, and Head, Government and Public Affairs Ravi Alfreds.
The coordination effort of getting the machines to Sri Lanka involved officials from the Sri Lanka High Commission in Singapore, Sri Lanka Consulate General in Frankfurt, Foreign Ministry, MEPA and SriLankan Airlines. Chairman SriLankan Airlines Ashok Pathirage agreed to transport the machinery from Frankfurt to Colombo on gratis basis and Regional Manager Sri Lankan Airlines Mohan Meegolle supported by coordinating the arrangements of the airlift. Chairperson/MEPA Dharshani Lahandapura and her team facilitated both the initial discussions and the processes involved in donating of the equipment.
The High Commission of Sri Lanka in Singapore extends its appreciation to President and CEO Jacob Duer and the team from the Alliance for offering assistance towards Sri Lanka’s beach clean-up efforts with the donation of BeachTech Sweepy machines and looks forward to working with the “The Alliance to End Plastic Waste”, in furthering partnerships and building networks to protect the marine environment of the country.