Natural treasures left free for plunder

‘Mother Nature is taking a break’, is now a common phrase seen on social media during the coronavirus lockdown. These words stem from the fact that we now have much better air quality because of the lack of vehicles in otherwise smog-filled cities. Whilst nature might seem to be suffering less on the surface, recent reported incidents of poaching and violence against rangers in National Parks show that illegal activities are now rampant in sensitive eco-systems.

From Royal Treasure to Garbage Dump: Tragedy of Muthurajawela

It was a dry Wednesday with very little catch in the lagoon's murky polluted waters. As Kumara moored his rundown fishing boat amidst the mangroves the unmistakable smell of smoke rose around him. He was unconcerned, as this was the norm, fires would be lit and doused and then more garbage dumped. However, reaching his house he was surprised to find it enveloped in smoke with his invalid wife outside. Acting fast he lifted his wife and carried her outside through the garbage paved path, to the main road for fresh air. be fore heading back towards the flames, to save his boat.

Tackling the Trash problem: Zero Waste People

The Zero Waste movement is a lifestyle trend which many people have adopted globally to combat waste. Whilst no zero waste household is literally ‘zero’ in its waste generation, it is an ideal that they aspire to achieve by aiming to send very little to a landfill, by reducing what they need, reusing as much as they can and sending little to be recycled and composting all biodegradable waste. Achini Wijesinghe and Thushara Dasanayake popularly known as the ‘Zero Waste People’ are a couple that has taken up this challenge in Sri Lanka, their Instagram page which was started in September 2019 has quickly gained almost two thousand followers and depicts the everyday challenges they face as well as the sustainable alternatives they find.

Microplastics: An Invisible Menace

Plastic is everywhere. The ubiquitous material that was once called the world’s most useful substance has now become a nuisance in its permanence. Plastic is now strewn across our lands, in our waterways and have also contaminated our oceans. However, few know that plastic is also ingested by us on a regular basis. An awareness programme conducted by the Ministry of Environment revealed that one person ingests around 1669 pieces of microplastics per week, which is equivalent to eating a credit card.

Reimagining School Through Collective Impact

School resonates differently with different people. For some, school is a place to look forward to, a place where they meet up and gossip with friends on the latest cartoons. For others it’s a place they despise with strict teachers and a lot of homework. However, those who fall into either one of these categories have been blessed in life, because for some children, school is a place of refuge or a safe haven from poverty and neglect at home.

Ancient Yet not Protected

Mannar is known for its arid weather and salt marshes. With the exception of the Mannar Dutch Fort, the district can hardly compete with its neighboring districts of Anuradhapura and Pollonnaruwa, in terms of archeological sites. However, Ceylon Today discovered that many such sites still exist in the area. Whilst some have been declared as archeological sites by the Department of Archeology, despite being completely unprotected, others remained unidentified and used by the public as benches.

Sri Lanka joins Global Climate Movement

“I don't want your hope. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I do. Every day. And want you to act. I want you to behave like our house is on fire. Because it is.” - Greta Thunberg These are the words of 16 year-old Swedish environmental activist, Greta Thunberg who pioneered the Global Climate Strikes. These Climate Strikes have since then become a rising phenomenon across the world to call for stronger action to mitigate the threats posed to the world by Climate Breakdown.

The Neglected Resettlements of Mannar

Ten years ago, the district of Mannar was an abandoned war-torn area with very little infrastructure, with whatever left standing being claimed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Fast forward to the present, Mannar is no longer the scarcely populated area it used to be, thanks to the resettlement programmes done by the Government. Regardless of these new settlements however, the area’s infrastructure still remains in primitive conditions.

Rising from the ashes

No one in Sri Lanka is new to the brutal three decade-long civil war that ravaged the country. Whilst the lucky few get to move on and bury these memories, most of those affected are still picking up the pieces. The war left over 300,000 internally displaced persons (IDP) which the Government has promised to resettle. However 10 years later some of these IDP’s are still left without homes. Fathima Rispana is one such IDP who resides in Mannar with her daughter in a borrowed house. Fate has spelled misfortune for her family from the very beginning, as Rispana and her siblings were born to poverty in Badulla.
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