MEPA and SLYCAN Trust join forces to develop coastal waste management plans

In partnership with the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) of Sri Lanka, SLYCAN Trust conducted a capacity building workshop on Developing Coastal Waste Management Plans on the 26th of March, 2021.

The objective of the workshop was to enhance technical knowledge of MEPA staff to implement an effective waste management strategy in fisheries harbors and coastal areas of the country.

Welcoming the participants, the Chairperson of MEPA, Ms. Dharshani Lahandapura, said that timely and effective collaborations were needed to share knowledge, expertise and resources to achieve a common goal. She stated that ‘the increasing volume of waste in the coastal belt has become a major issue in the country. A vast majority of waste in the coastal areas comes from land-based sources. Developing a comprehensive waste management plan can help reduce illegal discharge and minimize production of waste from land-based sources and vessels. Incorporating various strategies into the waste management plan can encourage waste reuse and recycling processes, and minimize negative environmental impacts of waste. Social mobilization must happen to ensure the sustainability of any waste management plan. Collaborations of this nature are necessary to scale up our efforts.’

During the workshop, several specialists in the field shared their expertise in developing an effective and detailed waste management plan to manage coastal waste in the country. Dr. Thusitha Sugathapala, a senior technical expert of SLYCAN Trust elaborated on ways to build synergies between waste management related actions and different processes such as sustainable development goals and climate action. Highlighting several components of a comprehensive waste management plan, he said, ‘We need to engage in research to find the types and amount of waste generated, waste generation sites and quantities, waste handling methods, methods of measuring the amount of waste, and waste disposal systems. Such information can help develop an effective coastal waste management plan.’

Starting from this year, improving ocean health has been given additional focus across many entities of the United Nations as the UN has declared the period from 2021 to 2030 as the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Such actions have pushed efforts to urgently address issues of decline in ocean health that are linked to several sustainable development goals. SLYCAN Trust and MEPA have now joined forces to bring together key stakeholders to protect and restore coastal ecosystems through numerous initiatives.

Dr. Terney Pradeep Kumara, General Manager of MEPA, stated: “We have worked with SLYCAN Trust for years and have developed a very productive partnership for different activities related to the coastal and marine sector, climate change, and resilience.”

Further speaking of the collaboration with MEPA, Ms. Vositha Wijenayake, Executive Director of SLYCAN Trust, said, “SLYCAN Trust looks forward to expanding the work on coastal and marine sectors, and we highly value the partnership with MEPA which provides us the opportunity to contribute to national, local, and global processes related to protect and restore coastal areas, ecosystems, and communities. We aim to contribute through provision of technical expertise and help in working on blue carbon ecosystems, the blue economy, and the resilience of coastal and marine ecosystems to face the impacts of climate change.’

The capacity building workshop was conducted as part of a project related to addressing climate change impacts on coastal and marine ecosystems and achieving sustainable development through capacity building, livelihood development, and mangrove conservation and restoration, which is implemented with the support of Mitsubishi Corporation. The project aims to promote blue carbon ecosystems in the country to mitigate adverse impacts of climate change. Under this project, SLYCAN Trust together with MEPA and other key stakeholders has launched several activities with community and youth engagement to protect and restore marine and coastal ecosystems.

SLYCAN Trust is a non-profit think tank that focuses on the thematic areas of climate change, adaptation and resilience, sustainable development, environmental conservation and restoration, social justice, and animal welfare. SLYCAN Trust’s activities include legal and policy research, education and awareness creation, capacity building and training, and implementation of ground level action. SLYCAN Trust aims to facilitate and contribute to multi-stakeholder driven, inclusive and participatory actions for a sustainable and resilient future for all.

The Marine Environment Protection Authority is the apex body established by the Government of Sri Lanka, under the Marine Pollution Prevention Act No. 35 of 2008, with the sole responsibility to prevent, control, and manage the pollution of Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment.