#WeLoveTheSea, which was a Global Action to clean the beach, happened on the 15th of September 2019 at the Wellawatta Beach organized by more than 10 Rotaract Clubs. It was truly amazing to see how many Clubs had come together to clean the beach of its garbage contained shore. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country famous for being an island surrounded by the big blue sea, and this sea is Sri Lanka’s precious diamond. However, it is sad to see that people tend to overcrowd the beaches and pollute its shores, which harms not only its sustainability and purity but also its marine life. However, on the 15th of September Rotaractors from multiple clubs got together and cleaned the coast starting from one side to the end of the other side.
This is how it happened!
Rotaractors arrived at the Wellawatta Beach at 9.30 a.m. on the 15th and the clean-up commenced at 10.00 a.m. There were sacks marked with ribbons in different colors (Black – Plastic, Brown – Glass, Pink – Rubber and cans, Green – Polythene, Cream – Metal, None – Degradable) to indicate what type of waste should go in the sack to make it easy for the collection of garbage and disposal of it as well. Each person had a sack to which they collected the relevant type of garbage into, and it was amazing how hard working everyone was because each sack contained garbage which had been collected along the coast. A while later it started to rain, but nobody hesitated to finish the job they started, everyone kept collecting garbage into their respective sacks, and it was surprising when individuals who had come to do their daily exercise at the beach too helped to clean the beach, which was something unexpected and beautiful to see. Moreover, a family who lives in the beachside as an appreciation of the hard work, made everyone who had volunteered to clean the beach, a morning cup of tea, which was very generous of them since everyone was soaking wet from the rain.
At first, it seemed like the beach was pretty clean, but the deeper we got in, we found a lot of little pieces of debris. Towards the end, we came back to the starting point and all the sacks were kept in one place. All the volunteers that morning removed a massive amount of garbage and prevented them from polluting the ocean. It was nice to see how strong we all are in number being able to help the environment united, as one, and the energy between the Rotaractors was amazing, and the appreciation and gratefulness from the bystanders were tremendous. Besides the actual act of cleaning the beach, it was evident that when people come together for such great causes it not only makes the cause so sweet, but it drives people to do more good, not individually but together as a community, because at the end of the day, Sri Lanka belongs to all of us equally.
The sheer amount of garbage produced in the country—7, 500 MT daily—coupled with inadequate waste disposal facilities, has adversely affected our ocean’s ecology. Therefore, by doing such beach clean-ups it makes sure that plastic pollutants, to a certain extent have been prevented from going into the sea and harming the innocent ever so graceful marine life. 2/10 sea turtles die of consuming plastic bags mistaking them for jellyfish, and how sad and cruel is that? Due to dumping, and unethical ways of disposing the land produced garbage, many animals in the ocean go through tough times and end up dying, and initiatives like beach clean-ups is a very good start in protecting the ecology.
It must also be kept in mind that the ocean is for everyone, the sandy shores are for everyone, the beach is for everyone, and by keeping the beaches clean we not only help the marine life, but also it becomes a cleanly place for every living being including US humans, no matter how ironic it may seem since it is also the very same US who pollute the beaches. Not to forget the fact that this promotes tourism too! Sri Lanka is famous for its beaches and keeping them clean will surely attract many tourists!
It is of no doubt that everyone who joined hands to help our mother nature be clean in this hour of need, not only did a good cause, but also went away with some beautiful memories and newly built friendships which will be redefined throughout.
Rtr. Bipash Suriyage
Cover Page courtesy of Rotaract Club of SLIIT