UK experts to assist Sri Lanka with marine pollution skill

UK experts to assist Sri Lanka with marine pollution skill: The UK Government is supplying marine pollution knowledge to assist in response to the possibly devastating effect on marine life & coastal habitats of Sri Lanka after an environmental disaster last month.

The X-Press Pearl cargo vessel transporting chemicals caught on fire off the coast of Sri Lanka in May, and it surged for 12 days.

From an appeal of the Sri Lanka Government, the UK Government’s Centre for the Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) will be providing its knowledge & analytical ability to assist in plastic pollution monitoring in addition to environmental & socio-economic impact evaluations.

The Cefas team will work alongside government departments, academics & responsible officials in Sri Lanka to help with effective emergency response and carrying out of a post-spill integrated monitoring plan.

The specialists, from their UK laboratory in Lowestoft, will primarily help in the laboratory evaluation of post spill monitoring samples, specifically plastic pellets & possible chemical contamination.

Work will further be done to determine the effect of the pollution on the nearby area, by providing help with modelling to understand the distribution of the pollutants, to assist with short term relief and clean-up action, in addition to longer term risk prevention.

Lord Goldsmith, International Environment Minister stated: “The X-Press Pearl vessel fire and the release of plastic pellets and chemicals along the Sri Lankan coast has already had devastating impacts and it will likely cause long term harm to the environment, local fisheries and livelihoods.

“I’m pleased that the UK is able to use its world-leading scientific expertise to advise on the clean-up effort and support plastic pollution monitoring. But this disaster again shines a light on the fragile nature of our marine environment.

“We are determined to play our part in supporting developing countries to protect and restore their coastal ecosystems with our £500 million Blue Planet Fund launched at the G7 by the Prime Minister.”

After the primary response, the Cefas team will carry on collaborating with the emergency response teams in Sri Lanka to give guidance & training to establish their expertise further for future disturbances.

Director General of Ocean Affairs, Environment and Climate Change, Ministry of Foreign Relations of Sri Lanka, S. Hasanthi Urugodawatte Dissanayake said: “Damage to the marine environment is a cause for concern for all those who are looking towards the oceans for the future progression of mankind.

“In this spirit of co-operation on environmental issues, Sri Lanka appreciates this initiative by the Government of UK offering assistance to understand the impact on marine environment, with opportunities for long term collaboration.”

UK experts to assist Sri Lanka with marine pollution skill

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