RESPONDING TO THE X-PRESS PEARL DISASTER



In line with its remit, the WNPS Marine Subcommittee has initiated a Citizen Science approach to assessing the damage done to the marine ecosystem by the X-Press Pearl naval disaster by collecting data and mapping the distribution of plastic nurdles - the polymer pellets washed ashore from the cargo of the stricken vessel. This initiative is conducted in collaboration with the Biodiversity Secretariat of the Ministry of Environment, Ocean Affairs Division of the Foreign Ministry, Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA), National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA), Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) and Forest Department.

 

The data will be compiled and analyzed with expert guidance and will be handed over to all relevant government agencies to better inform their decision-making process.  Through this initiative, WNPS wishes to test the Citizen Science approach to generating scientific data, as we find this to be a great opportunity for collaboration in the damage-assessment process , in a crisis situation such as this.

REGENARATING MANGROVES

Protecting mangrove ecosystems are a critical facet of marine coastal conservation in Sri Lanka.  The Marine Subcommittee’s work on the Accelerated Natural Mangrove Regeneration (ANRM) Project in Anawilundawa has been successful in attracting corporate Sponsors. Hemas Ltd has generously contributed towards the regeneration of 6 blocks of the habitat and will also be sponsoring a major part of the extensive scientific activity associated with the project. The recruitment of a dedicated research officer, who will report to Prof. Sevvandi Jayakody, the chief scientist for the project, is now in progress.

CHATS BY THE SEA

Increasing marine pollution, coastal erosion, illegal fishing methods, over extraction of resources, and demands of unregulated tourism, continue to negatively impact Sri Lanka’s marine envrionment. Our knowledge and understanding of the vast oceans are limited. Chats By the Sea is an ongoing lecture series, exploring the biodiversity of our Oceans . The June lecture featured Dr. Malik Fernando’s research on a current project being conducted by the Marine Subcommittee on the Mount Lavinia Hotel Rocky Shore.  

MT LAVINIA ROCKY SHORE – STUDY 


The WNPS Marine Subcommittee will work towards creating a compilation of records, observations and visuals of the unique topography and biodiversity of the Rocky Shore of Mt Lavinia.  It has been a place of learning for students throghout the years, who visit this area to study the diverse marine flora and fauna in this unique habitat.

This project will be carried out with the objective of cascading this information, to all the people who use the beach for research and recreation and  to ensure that the future generations are made aware of the importance of this unique ecosystem so that they may be inspired to conserve and protect it for many more years.  The future of environmental conservation relies on community engagement to support Science, and the WNPS aims to educate the general public in a meaningful and accessible manner. 

This project will be led and designed by Dr Malik Fernando, who has spent many hours studying the marine life diving in these waters over the last 40 years or more. The WNPS will also glean the many years of knowledge of Mr. Rex De Silva and Mr. Arjan Rajasuriya who also have extensive knowledge of this area.

Dr Malik will also mentor a team of students who will join the WNPS on this fascinating journey, together with Dr Jagath Gunawardena, who will record and document the fascinating bird life that adds to the thriving marine ecosystem. Together, this will result in a vast repository of knowledge that can be shared and studied for many years. The objective is to help safeguard this special marine ecosystem, home to many species of marine flora and fauna, a place of education as well as enjoyment for families through many generations, and a source of sustainable livelihoods for many fishermen, and to help protect and conserve it for future generations.