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Seenigama Dewala abutting the sea is the location of the largest religious festival in the Galle District taking place every year between 28th of August and 4th September. It usually draws huge crowds daily and these pilgrims carry with them polythene bags and plastic bottles which are usually burnt at the end of the festival with resultant heavy pollution due to lack of awareness.
This year something different happened. The local PHIs requested the MWRP – USAID/ DIG funded project in Gin River Basin for prevention of marine pollution for help in bringing about a huge change.
They rendered all out assistance in conducting the Clean Up programme at Seenigama. They were fortunate to have received the assistance of the team of Community Environmental Facilitators of the Gin Ganga Project (MWRP) who provided a highly successful awareness programme conducted by them. Information leaflets on prevention of plastic pollution and boards providing awareness on the whole issue were made available to the visitors to Seenigama.
They received ungrudging assistance from the Sri Lanka Navy stationed in Galle as well as the Local Environmental Police Units.
The local NGO, Hikkaduwa Sahabagithwa Sanwardena Padanama assisted by the Galle District Consortium actively participated in the programme.
The PHIs were there right round the clock and all these actors participating in the programme were able to carry out a greatly successful programme in ensuring a spotlessly clean environment at Seenigama at the end of the festival. Receptacles had been provided all over the premises to collect sorted polythene / plastic waste.
Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) was happy to help out with the programme for its impact on the coastal environment.
All participants were joyous to see all the collected waste material directed to appropriate recycling agencies at the end of the festival in Galle District, who are already actively helping the MWRP project in recycling collected plastic debris.
Mainly this programme was aimed at making the pilgrims aware on polythene and plastic pollution while encouraging the total elimination of their use, as well as not to bring along P&P with them in the coming years.