The pilot beach clean-up campaign carried out by Caritas Sri Lanka-SEDEC in collaboration with ‘Sethsarana’ under the theme of ‘God’s Love to All’ on 02nd September, 2018 at Poruthota went ahead well with the participation of over 100 environmental enthusiasts of all ages. The National Director of SEDEC, Rev. Fr. Mahendra Gunatilleke, Director of ‘Sethsarana’, Rev. Fr. Lawrence Ramanayake and Parish Priest of Pallansena, Rev. Fr. Tony Pinto were leading the proceedings. By gauging the interest, cooperation and hard work put in by the participants, SEDEC and Sethsarana managed to instil the idea to preserve the environment by engaging in good practices. After all, the objective of the campaign was to disseminate the message of environmental conservation, while picking up bits and pieces of debris and disposing the collected debris in a proper manner.
The campaign kicked off with a brief multi-religious opening ceremony where children cladded in attire according to different ethnicities, welcomed the religious leaders offering sheaf of betel leaves. Ven Atabage Piyadassi thero of Abeysekararamaya, Negombo, Moulavi Nawaz of Poruthota Mosque, Shiva Sri Rajendram Kurukkal of Kandsurindugama Skandakumara Hindu Temple represented their respective religions. In their short sermons, all the religious leaders emphasized the importance of environmental friendly facts according to their religions. They all urged to take the message of preserving the nature to their homes, schools, societies and to masses.
Following the sermons, religious leaders handed over the collection bags to the children dressed up to depict multi-religiosity, guided by their team leaders, to ceremonially start picking up debris from the beach. A stretch of 2km was cleaned within 3 hours by 4 teams where about 150 bags of segregated debris were collected. Plastics, cans, rigifoams and glass bottles were segregated while collecting. Instant disposal of the collected debris was a feature of this difficult task carried out under the scorching sun. Swift disposal of garbage was coordinated by a team headed by the PHI of the area. 6 truckloads of debris were despatched from the site.
Campaign was a resounding success while the organizers of the event learnt valuable lessons on conducting a beach clean-up campaign. The experience gained will be useful when SEDEC conducts its mega beach clean-up campaign on 30th September, 2018, covering the coastal area from Palliyawatta to Poruthota.