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Sri Lanka: Microplastics a key factor in Sri Lanka’s plunging fish stocks, survey shows by Dilrukshi Handunnetti June 11,2019   |  Source: Mongabay

Plummeting fish stocks and crisis-level volumes of plastic pollution should spur Sri Lanka to adopt new regulations and mechanisms to prevent further contamination of the seas around it, experts say. The call comes in the wake of findings from a 2018 survey — commissioned by the National Aquatic Resources Agency (NARA) and supported by Norway’s Institute of Marine Research (IMR) and carried out on the Norwegian research vessel Fridtjof Nansen — that were published in January.

The survey, the first of its kind in 40 years, found that nearly four-fifths of small pieces of the plastic waste in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters arrived via rivers and canals, said Terney Pradeep Kumara, general manager of the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA). “This means, only about one fifth of waste is sea-originated microsplastic [MPs] wastage, caused by fishermen dumping plastic in mid-sea and oil spills from ships,” he said.

The Nansen survey also highlighted that seas around Sri Lanka were polluted by “second category” microplastics, such as fishing gear and packaging material. Kumara called for collective and effective waste management mechanisms to avoid extensive marine pollution. Making coastal regions of Sri Lanka polythene-free and campaigning to reduce

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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)