UK marine experts support Sri Lanka with X-press Pearl pollution response

Following the X-Press Pearl container vessel fire that started in May, the UK Government is providing marine pollution expertise to help respond to the impact on the marine life and coastal habitats of Sri Lanka, the British High Commission in Sri Lanka said today.

British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Sarah Hulton said the UK Government’s Centre for the Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) will provide expertise and analytical capacity to support plastic pollution monitoring, as well as environmental and socioeconomic impact assessments.

‘UK experts will partner with teams in Sri Lanka to support the emergency response,” she said.

Cefas is assisting with laboratory analysis of samples, particularly plastic pellets, and potential chemical contamination.

From their UK laboratory, the experts will work collaboratively with in-country teams to support their assessment of the consequences for marine and coastal habitats and species, including mangroves, seagrass and coral reefs. UK experts will also contribute to socioeconomic analysis to assess the impacts on local communities and livelihoods.

Following this, Cefas will continue to collaborate with the emergency response teams in Sri Lanka to provide guidance and training to enhance their capabilities to address any future incidents that could impact on the environment and livelihoods. UK experts will support clean-up action over the short term, as well as preventative work for the long-term.

Director General for Ocean Affairs, Environment and Climate change at the Ministry of Foreign Relations, S. Hasanthi Urugodawatte Dissanayake said that damage to the marine environment is a cause for concern for all those who are looking towards the oceans for the future progression of mankind.

Dissanayake said that in this spirit of cooperation on environmental issues, Sri Lanka appreciates this initiative by the Government of UK offering assistance to understand the impact on marine environment, with opportunities for long term collaboration. (Colombo Gazette)

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