Feb 27, 2019

80% of Western Province sea bed polluted Featured

Due to the accumulation of garbage in the Western sea areas 80% of the sea bed is polluted, according to research findings by the National Aquatic Research Agency (NARA).

The survey was conducted jointly by the Norway government and NARA.

Research results indicated that over 50% of the sea bed of Sri Lanka is polluted.

NARA stated that as the sea traffic is greatest in the Western sea route and due to the dumping of garbage at sea and rubbish being washed to sea through the Mahaweli and Kalu rivers in the most densely populated region, the Western province.

Due to the excessive garbage, the oxygen level in the sea water has also reduced.

The research also revealed that the amount of plastic particles mixed with the sea water had increased especially due to the wrapping materials, industrial waste and fishing equipment being dumped into the sea.

As a result the Western sea areas has been identified as being the most polluted with micro plastic particles.

It has been found that the Wayamba sea areas contained 0.89 micro plastic particles per cubic meter, Eastern and South western sea areas 0.29 micro plastic particles per cubic meter, Southeastern seas 0.28, Southern seas 0.27 and Northeastern seas contains 0.21 micro plastic particles per cubic meter.

Due to the pollution increase in the Sri Lankan sea areas, there has been a steady decline in marine resources over the past 40 years.

According to the NARA report, the fish species biomass is around 53,000 tons at present.

Around 40 years ago between 1978-1980 the fish species biomass was around 250,000-350,000. As a result of the extreme pollution by now Sri Lanka has lost around 197,000 tons of fish species biomass.

Currently, among the fish species biomass in the seas surrounding the country, the highest fish species biomass has been recorded from the southeastern seas, which is around 8,173 metric tons while the lowest fish species biomass has been recorded in the Northwestern seas which is around 967 tons.

The study also revealed that the amount of fish on the sea surface had also reduced drastically.

Currently, the sea surface fish species biomass is around 21,000 tons consisting of small fish such as Salaya, Hurulla etc.

The mid sea fish density on the sea surface has been found to be around 101,000 tons and in comparison with the past figures, this is a drastic decline.

The study report indicates that the reason for the dramatic reduction in fish resources is the over fishing and extreme pollution.

When contacted regarding the extreme pollution in the sea areas surrounding Sri Lanka NARA Senior Scientist Prabath Jayasinghe said, “There is a good biodiversity in the sea areas surrounding Sri Lanka, but if this pollution continues, this will all be destroyed by the garbage piling up in our seas making it hard for marine species to survive as their level of oxygen and sunlight depletes.”