Kudawella Fisheries Harbour Cleaning Campaign - Ripple effect of the Municipal Waste Recycling Programme Galle project
Kudawella Fisheries Harbour is the largest fisheries harbour in Hambantota District. The Harbour was cluttered up with huge mountains of waste materials, mostly plastics and polythene. It was selected as a prime location for clearing up under “The 100 Beaches Cleaning Programme” implemented by MEPA (Marine Environment Protection Authority) on 31st May, 2019 with the participation of around 20 organizations.
The programme was implemented following requests from the Kudawella community including Ruhunu Shakthi Sanvidanaya, the local NGO. In the Galle District currently drawing much attention is the Municipal Waste Recycling Programme being implemented by SLCDF in association with a number of CSOs and Government Organizations. It came to be discussed at the Coordinating meetings of DCs conducted by SLCDF as a project for preventing marine pollution of plastics and polythene, and when the Kudawella Fisheries Harbour Cleaning programme came about on 31st May, 2019 the Hambantota District Consortium, especially the Ruhunu Shakthi Sanvidanaya participated enthusiastically in it, as a ripple effect of the Municipal Waste Recycling Programme Galle project.
The programme was supported by around 600 participants drawn from around 20 organizations, the Central Environment Authority, the Ports Authority, Coastal Conservation Department, Kudawella community, the District Consortium, the local Sanasa, the Tangalle Divisional Secretariat, the Tangalle Urban Council, the Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha, Holcim Cement Company etc.
The Kudawella Fisheries Harbour serves around 900 multiday boats, and each takes around 500 water bottles on each trip. These boats are away usually for a month or so and they dump all the empty bottles in the Harbour when they do come back.
On 31st May, 2019 over 25,000 plastic bottles were collected and removed from the Harbour on that day. Over 20 tipper loads of other waste were removed from the Harbour. The Local Authorities in the area will now take over from there onwards.
For the sorting of Waste material being regularly collected, five women selected from among Samurdhi recipients have been recruited on a payment of monthly allowance of Rs.6000.
A visit to the Harbour site within 2 weeks of the programme did not prove very promising, with large quantities of waste material again cluttering the area. Now most participants in the programme hope to visit the site again on 24th of June, with a view to working out a more sustainable programme for cleaning up the Fisheries harbour utilising all the resources available for the purpose from the original participating actors.