The Environment Ministry expressed concern over the dumping of thousands of empty plastic water bottles, various sizes of empty soft drink bottles and also used face masks to the environment daily and said these non-degradable items are causing huge damage to living beings of land and water resources.
Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera quoting statistics told the Daily News Business that unless taking strict legal action against people who are in the habit of dumping these items in the open environment disregarding the health of living beings, this process cannot be stopped easily.
The Minister said nearly 1,000,000 such non –degradable items are added to the environment by people every month and they not only pollute the land environment but also the country’s valuable water resources in rivers, lakes, reservoirs and finally in the ocean where there are lots of marine living beings and plants as well as corals. He said the Ministry has also launched a special programme in collaboration with countrywide environmentalists and private sector social service organizations to educate people on the importance of clearing these garbage and also using special garbage bins that are placed in main towns and near super markets to dump these non-degradable items.
Amaraweera also said that steps have also been taken to establish more places where recycling of these items are carried out.
The Minister also focused attention towards dumping garbage mixed with chemicals to inland lakes by industrialists that ultimately resulted in severe environmental hazards to the fauna and flora in the land and the ocean.
Minister Amaraweera said his Ministry has already identified 103 major and minor rivers in the country and complaints are received regarding the pollution of water resources in these rivers and also the outer environment of these rivers.
He said among them many rivers have been cleared up to now under the ‘Surakimu Ganga ‘project launched by the Ministry. He further said special nets have also been laid across the mouths of certain major rivers to collect garbage and stop them being washed into the ocean.
The Minister requested citizens, especially pilgrims and other tourists to use special garbage bins that are placed in towns to dump whatever garbage they have, so that it is easy to recycle or dump them in a systematic way.