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Spick and Span

“A clean place is a safe place”. Covering almost 70 percent of the Earth’s surfaceoceans are the world’s most precious natural resources and ecosystems. Beaches connect the sea with humans. Day by day ocean pollution is becoming more severe resulting many adverse effects in the ecosystem. Every small step in the right direction makes a big impact. Taking another small step to preserve the precious ocean resources, we as the Rotaract Club of Alumni of University of Moratuwa organized “Spick and Span 1.0” to clean the Panadura Beach on 11th of August 2019. This project was conducted as a part of the project “Recover”.  

Panadura beach is a very popular tourist spot and is also special among the locals living in Panadura and suburbs nearby. It is often an evening gathering place to spend time, relax and play since it is a more spacious beach compared to other beaches nearby area. The sight of kids flying kites, riding bicycles or playing in the kid’s playground located there is very common. This beach also attracts lots of jogger and fitness enthusiasts in the early morning hours. In the evening hours, it is very crowded with families, youngsters, and other gatherings.  

There are a few restaurants as well as many small vendors set up near the beach selling various food items like kottu, wade, ice cream, achcharu and toys like kites, plastic balls, etc. Pollution of the beach was mainly observed to be by the polythene covers in which they sell food items like achcharu, ice cream, and others. It was common to find child diapers, remaining of broken kites, empty beer cans, empty plastic bottles, Styrofoam boxes and snack covers scattered around the beach creating an unpleasant sight. 

We set out in smaller groups of two or three, with disposal bags. The beach was certainly cluttered with leftover ice cream wrappers, empty plastic bottles, and polythene waste. We did our best to separate the garbage according to type while collecting. Although there are some disposal bins located at the beach, it was sad to see litter being effortlessly disposed of without much thought. By noon, our garbage bags were quite full, and we dragged them up to our collection point. The Panadura municipal council is responsible for garbage disposal around the area. We directed the garbage to the municipal council for proper disposal.  

From the polythene and plastic bottles collected at the beach, we managed to make 2-3 eco-bricks. An eco-brick is a plastic bottle stuffed with non-biodegradable and non-recyclable trash.  Making one is a quite fun activity; it is amazing how much polythene and trash a 1.5l bottle can hold! These bricks can be used to make garden spaces or even as solid bricks in a building. 

The project Recover was an environmental service initiative by the Rotaract District 3220 this year to mark the 50th Anniversary of Rotaract in Sri Lanka. The main aim of project recover was to clean 50 beaches and riverbeds all around the country. So, as Rotaract Club of Alumni of University of Moratuwa, we initiated the project “Spick and Span” in order to achieve this goal as a one Rotaract movement. 

One of the key objectives of the project is to implant the idea of beach cleaning and keeping our clean environment among the locals. A group of children joined the activity after observing the cleaning done by our volunteers. Therefore, seeding the concept among future generation already began with the first phase. In the upcoming phases of the project, to make it more sustainable, we are hoping to place signboards informing people proper disposal of garbage and the importance of a clean environment. 

By: Rtr. Madara Polgampola

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