Hemas Partners with MEPA to Address Marine Plastic Pollution

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Evergreen Shipping Agency Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, a joint venture between Hemas Transportation Pvt Ltd and Evergreen Marine (Hong Kong) Limited, partnered with the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) to address marine pollution in Sri Lanka.

Evergreen Lanka has committed to the installation of an ‘Ocean Strainer’ floating trash trap at the Samanala Canal, Galle, and five ‘Beach Caretaker Projects’ across the country including Paranambala Beach and Luna Pokuna Beach. The partnership aligns with Hemas’ Environmental Agenda which strives to protect Sri Lankan Endemism through a three-prong action plan which includes responsible usage and disposal of plastic waste, safeguarding our ecosystem and protecting our natural resources.

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Commenting on the partnership, Kasturi Chellaraja Wilson, Group CEO of Hemas Holdings said, “We are honoured to partner with MEPA in their efforts to ensure that we safeguard our marine ecosystem from plastic waste. As a part of the Group Environmental Agenda, we are committed to ensuring the reduction of the use of plastic that is harmful to the environment and the responsible disposal of plastic waste. This partnership is the first step in our efforts to reduce plastic pollution in our country by facilitating initiatives across the island to continuously collect community plastic waste disposed to the environment, while also working towards offsetting our plastic footprint”

The beach caretaker program aims to keep the coastline clean through community-led conservation while empowering their livelihood, by providing caretakers with a reliable source of income. The initiative hopes to keep approximately five tons of plastic waste out of the ocean, assisting the conservation of Sri Lanka’s threatened and degraded marine ecosystem.

“Sri Lanka is a nation that is rich in biodiversity and marine ecosystems, but unfortunately, this is under threat due to plastic pollution. As a responsible corporate that focuses on making healthful living happen across all communities we serve, we felt it is important that we play a role in ensuring the protection of our marine ecosystem. Clean and healthy oceans play a vital role in balancing ecosystems and water resources and mitigating the impacts of climate change. Through these initiatives we hope to reduce the plastic waste that enters the ocean and protect the marine ecosystem of Sri Lanka” said Mushin Kitchilan, Director, Mobility Sector of Hemas Holdings.

With approximately 900 MT of plastic waste generated daily in Sri Lanka, the ‘Ocean Strainer’ floating trash trap will trap, collect, and remove plastic waste before it reaches the ocean. The ‘Ocean Strainer’ floating trash trap initiative was conceptualized and developed by MAS Holdings, with the installation of the first ‘Ocean Strainer’ in the Dehiwala Canal in August 2020. In its first year since installation, this floating trash trap has managed to keep approximately 67,000 kilograms of plastic waste away from the ocean. Believing in the power of open innovation and collaboration in problem-solving, MAS announced in early 2021 that they would make the ‘Ocean Strainer’ technology openly available to interested parties, in order to replicate and scale up the solution.

Established in 1948 Hemas started with a simple intent: to help families live healthfully. This core belief has informed our growth for over 70 years. Today, we bring healthful living to life through our focus on Consumer Brands, Healthcare and Mobility. Woven into the socio-economic fabric of Sri Lanka, Hemas has also expanded regionally with operations in Bangladesh, West Bengal and Myanmar. In our onward journey, we will continue to invest in diverse and passionate teams, create meaningful offerings, cultivate trusted partnerships, and champion a more inclusive world, to create a positive impact for all our stakeholders.

Caption: Jagath Gunasekara – General Manager- Marine Environment Protection Authority-Sri Lanka, Dharshani Lahandapura – Chairman – Marine Environment Protection Authority-Sri Lanka, Mushin Kitchilan – Director – Mobility Sector of Hemas Holdings, Ishani Ranasinghe – Senior Manager – Group Sustainability and Corporate Communications of Hemas Holdings and Mindika Thilakarathna – Manager – Group Sustainability and Special Projects of Hemas Holdings.

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