Minister Mahinda Amaraweera praises Airman Roshan Abeysundera’s record breaking feat

The country should be thankful for the effort rendered by Roshan Abeysundera, a War Hero of the Air Force who swam across the Palk Straits, giving the message to the country not to release polythene and plastic into the ocean, said Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera.

Sri Lanka has been named as the 5th country to add plastic and polythene to the ocean by a foreign organisation. That is completely untrue. The population of our country is very much less than other countries in this region.

There are cities in this region that are a hundred times as populous as Colombo. However, it is seen that the use of polythene and plastic is increasing day-by-day in comparison to the population of our country.

"In such a situation the War Hero Roshan Abeysundera of the Air Force recently gave a message to the whole country. He swam across the Palk Strait and asked the country not to add polythene and plastic to the ocean. He risked his life to carry out this heroic deed out of love for the environment. Therefore, the entire nation should express its gratitude to those who love the environment," Minister Amaraweera said.

The Minister expressed these views while participating in a sapling distribution ceremony held in the Angunakolapelessa area yesterday (11).

The Minister distributed these saplings for the auspicious sapling programme to be implemented by the Ministry of Environment on April 16.

The Minister further said during a discussion with the top management of our country's supermarket chains, I was told that one billion silly bags are distributed annually by the country's supermarket chains alone. One billion bags of silicon a year is no small feat. The damage done to the environment cannot be overemphasised.

"They told me to let them charge at least one rupee per bag. Now these bags are given free. So one customer uses at least seven or eight bags at a time. They also agreed to donate the proceeds for the bags to an environmental fund. But we have not taken a final decision in this regard. However, this causes huge environmental damage.

And so is the lunch sheets. Sri Lanka is the only country in the world that uses lunch sheets.

Ten million lunch sheets are used daily in our country. So in the future we will have to come up with stricter rules to reduce the use of these silly bags and lunch sheets. The people of our country are not yet aware of the environmental damage," the Minister said.

He said that as the Minister of Environment, he highly appreciated the heroic act of Roshan Abeysundera in conveying a message to the public to reduce the use of plastics and polythene, a communique from the minister’s media unit said.

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