New software will facilitate better waste disposal

Imagine this… approximately 70% of industrial waste is dumped into water bodies globally. Fourteen billion pounds of garbage is dumped into the ocean annually. Approximately 2,000,000 tons of human waste is disposed in to water every single day.


There are close to 500 ‘dead zones’, also known as hypoxic zones in the ocean of such low oxygen concentration that animal life suffocates and dies. These ‘dead zones’ amount to almost 245,000 square kilometres, an area as big as the United Kingdom.


There are five gyres, areas concentrated with plastic materials and other litter due to oceanic currents and the largest gyre is twice the size of Texas! And the number of floating plastic pieces outnumbers marine life six to one in the vicinity.


Now imagine this… over 1,000,000 seabirds and 100,000 mammals in the ocean die because of pollution each year.


Closer to home, about 1,000 of the ships coming to port in Sri Lanka dispose approximately 20,000 metric tonnes of waste in to the country, according to a source from the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) Sri Lanka.


In Sri Lanka, our marine zone extends up to 200 nautical miles, with many animals including dolphins, sea turtles and whales found as close as eight to ten nautical miles from shore. So protecting our water sources is essential. Not just for our health and safety but also to safeguard marine life.


Last week, MEPA along with the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) announced a new software to facilitate more efficient waste disposal from incoming ships.


When contacted MEPA, they explained that waste disposal used to be coordinated by the arriving ships’ agents in the country. The ship captains would inform their local agents, who in turn would inform MEPA, with most of the entry work and facilitating being done manually. However, the new online system created by ICTA will allow the information to be uploaded onto an online system, which will be updated in real time, allowing for faster and more efficient disposal of waste from ships coming in to the country.


In a press statement released to the media, programme head for ICTA’s eServices, Kanchana Thudugala said, “Equipped with a foreknowledge of particulars of ships scheduled to arrive in the country, the software will facilitate more systematic and efficient disposal of ships’ waste. In addition, the software could be used to facilitate activities of discharging the ballast water and pumping of required ballast water into ballast tanks for ensuring the ship’s stability and  maneuverability.”


In 2012 MEPA implemented an online advance notification system where ships would inform MEPA 24 hours before waste delivery to the port.


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