Being the pivotal hub of political, economical and commercial activities in the country, Colombo draws hundreds and thousands of individuals every day. The statistics have revealed that the city which nestles 750,000 residents is visited by a staggering number of people amounting to 2 million locals and 250,000 tourists per day. In other words, at any given time Colombo is frequented by 3 million people, who unwittingly contribute towards an unforeseen menace - the surmounting garbage problem.
With the sole aim of introducing a pragmatic and sustainable solution to the prevalent problem of surmounting garbage, Sri Lanka CAN Foundation conceptualized the initiative “Clean Lanka – Let’s begin from home” (“#Pirisidu Lanka – Gedarin Patangamu”) – creating a platform to cultivate individual responsibility to address the problem and raise awareness on conscious waste management starting from home.
It is common knowledge that improper disposal of non-biodegradable waste such as polythene and plastic waste cause severe environmental and health issues including the spread of communicable diseases such as Dengue, contamination of water sources, as well as affecting the wildlife populace in forest reserves bordering the main roads. It is also a common factor that when the menace aggravates beyond a tolerable threshold, the state and the public institutions like the municipality and the urban councils come under a barrage of criticism from the general public, opinion leaders and activists. However, Sri Lanka CAN Foundation observed that despite the gravity of the problem, people tend to disregard the possibility of proactive individual contribution and its disproportionate impact in achieving a lasting solution.
Clean Lanka initiative motivates individuals to start from their very homes – the smallest nucleus in the society, triggering a chain reaction to disseminate the message from the family to the community, and school to the place of work. ‘Clean Lanka – Let’s begin from home‘ is mainly driven by the elements -Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Upcycle.
As a consumer, you have the right to refuse any additional shopping bags offered by retailers, by bringing environmental-friendly tote bags made of reed, straw or fabric material. Reducing makes you re-evaluate your daily requirements, where you can consciously drop the number of non-biodegradable items entering your home. In addition, you also have the option to reuse items like shopping bags, lunch sheets or cellophane bags, which in turn would greatly help minimizing environmental pollution and waste disposal. You can also use a lunch boxes to pack lunch from home, and also use them in place of take away boxes and lunch sheets when buying meals from food outlets.
And finally, with a home-made compost bin you can begin recycling from home itself, where all discarded food, vegetable and fruit peels, and even raked leaves can be all collected and converted to produce 100% organic fertilizer for potted plants and vegetable plants. Upcycling sparks your creativity to transform waster material to an entirely new material or product. Upcycled items such as jewellery, accessories, bags, baskets as well as bowls are gaining wider popularity in the contemporary market.
Unlike other initiatives where an association or an institution takes the lead to implement a project, ‘Clean Lanka – Let’s begin from home’ empowers citizens across the country, conveying the importance on individual responsibility and conscious waste management. The initiative also aims to raise awareness on systematically managing household waste while greatly minimizing the garbage output. Furthermore, steps are being taken to disseminate the message through all media including digital and social media. In conjunction with the initiative, discussions will be carried out by reputed religious programs on people related and nation-benefitting actions that the society at large need to focus on for the greater good of humanity and the nation.
Sri Lanka CAN Foundation further believes their initiative will drive the entire nation towards a constructive and holistic attitudinal and behavioural change, striving towards zero-waste.
The inaugural program of “Clean Lanka – Let’s Begin from Home” was held last evening at IdeaHell in Colpetty, with the participation of media, industry experts and intellectuals. Compèred by veteran host Arun Dias Bandaranayake, the program was enriched with a discussion partaken by several intellectuals and industry professionals including Prof. Ajith de Alwis from the University of Moratuwa (Project Director of Coordinating Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation), Mr. Sudesh Nandasiri (Chairman of Sri Lanka Recyclers’ Association), Mr. Randeewa Malalasooriya (Chartered Environmentalist and Council Member of Environmental Professionals), Mr. Kanchana Weerakoon (President of Eco-Friendly Volunteers, Environmentalist) and Mr. Dilith Jayaweera (The Founder Trustee of Sri Lanka CAN Foundation). Ven. Ambulugala Sumangala Thero also participated in the forum, which raised awareness on the objectives of the initiative and demonstrated best practices on conscious waste management with a live demonstration on sorting garbage.
Seated from left to right: Mr. Arun Dias Bandaranayake, Mr. Dilith Jayaweera- founder trustee of Sri Lankan CAN foundation, Mr. Sudesh Nandasiri- Chairman of Sri lankan recycles association, Prof. Ajith de Alwis- Director of coordinating secretariat for science technology and innovation, Mr. Randeewa Malalsoooriya- Charted environmentalist and council member of Environment professionals followed by president of ecofriendly volunteers, environmentalist Mrs. kanchana Weerakoon.
Sources : Ada Derana