Events No Kunu Mobilizes Citizens for Massive Cleanup of Wellawatte Canal

No Kunu Mobilizes Citizens for Massive Cleanup of Wellawatte Canal

2018 Aug 27

To all of you that really want to get out there and make a difference one road and canal at a time. The next Nokunu event is on the 1st of September. ‪Citizen Volunteers are asked to meet at the SLLRC (Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation) Wellawatte office) No. 6 Stafford Avenue Colombo 6 at 8 am.‬‬

On the back of a major citizens movement that now exceeds some 80,000 Sri Lankan page views on Facebook and several initiatives across the nation in and around Colombo city slums, and the Beira Lake, Nokunu partners with SLLRDC, The Navy and the Fairway Group to clean up the Wellawatte canal.

Sri Lankans produce 23 million metric tons of solid waste a year or generates about 7100MT of solid waste per day with the Western Province accounting for nearly 60% of waste generation. Each person generates an average of 1-0.4kg of waste per day. According to the Waste Management Authority and the Central Environmental Authority, only half of the waste generated is collected.

Some of this can be Reused and Recycled some of this can be minimized by buying stuff that have less or no packaging or degradable packaging.
Nokunu, a citizens engagement movement, is trying to engage all citizens to do what they can to help easy and mitigate the risks around bad waste management The movement takes a pragmatic approach –“Start now, take a few steps in the right direction “. One street, canal, beach or forest at a time. Nokunu organizes several clean ups around the city and encourage and support others to do the same. “

The Canal will start near Wellawatte Canal (near Elizabeth Moir school area) right down to the sea. The route: Pamakanda bridge Thalawathukotte Gardens following the canal downstream, past St Peters College under Wellawatte bridge up to railway line and the sea. 5km ‬in total.

All volunteers will try educating residents not to throw the garbage in to the canal.
Currently Nokunu has SLLRDC support for:

55 labourers
5 supervisors
20 environmental police personal
80 personnel
2 pontoons.
3 tipper trucks.

They are equipped with:

Pohora bags 200
Garbage bags 200
Face masks 150
Water bottle 500
Gloves 50 pair
Hats 125
Carbolic soap 100

What you must bring:

‪You must come gloved and carry ploybags, brooms, rakes or any other cleaning equipment. Such as mammoties and spades.‬ Those that want to can donate plastic bins or polybags.‬‬

Cynics can argue why Government does not manage the process better. In civilized, progressive societies, citizens need to engage in constructive ways to mitigate issues that the government manages. It is a fact that we have terrible civic sense. We litter streets and temples; we scatter industrial waste and company garbage all over.

The Nokunu movement is a citizens effort to take stewardship (leadership and responsibility) to ask, badger, lobby, and prevail on the Government entities and citizens, school children and companies who work, live or care about the unimaginable mess we have to clear.

‪Mrs Sumi Moonesinghe, founder and Chief catalyst of the group, said “We have done this many times and we note a wide difference in involvement. Some folk really get into and clean the streets. Others just hang around aimlessly unsure. “Please come and get into the swing of it. Talk to people, stay engaged. Pick up dirt. Sweep the street, dig up drains, nag the environmental police and health inspectors to actually stop and pull up people, buy a street cleaner lunch, talk to engineers and health officers get their numbers, bug them daily as you notice issues and follow up till they are fixed.

‪We hope to lead by example in what we do. But the waste we pull out of the canal will not be separated this once because it is wet and it has a lot of sewage mixed in. Where possible and we can identify plastic we will separate it if possible.‬”

‪What you must teach, explain and demonstrate‬‬:

‪1. Waste must be wet waste or food waste in one bag/bin‬‬
‪2. Plastic bottles and glass and paper and board can all be recycled or given to plastic collection points.‬‬
‪3. Electronic waste batteries, bulbs, CD’s, and old TVs have to be separated and sold to special collectors.
‪4. Above all, NOTHING must be put into the road or canal..‬
‪5. People must understand that their children fall sick and people die from such bad behaviour. ‬‬
‪6. We must educate our children, our friends, and our staff over and over again.‬‬
‪7. We too must constantly pick up and sweep litter. ‬‬
‪8. Tell people and yourself to STOP using straws and plastic bags to go back to using cloth or rattan bags or ‘mallas” and newspaper to wrap vegetables.
‪9. Above all, DO NOT throw waste on the ground, in rivers, or on beaches. Repeat this message 10 times a day and see the difference you can make.‬‬

‪Remember: The first of September at 8 a.m. at 6, Stafford Avenue.‬‬ Be there!


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