Leading Aircraftman Roshan Abeysundera, who recently set a record by swimming across the Palk Strait, has been appointed an environmental brand ambassador in recognition of his outstanding contribution.
The SLAF officer received a commemorative gift and the letter of appointment as the brand ambassador from Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera.
Abeysundera, speaking at the event, said that he would like to express his gratitude to the Ministry of Environment for organising such a reception in appreciation of the world record he had set.
“I set a world record after a long training session. When I was training in the Southern Seas as well as the seas around Mannar, I saw things like polythene and plastic bags floating in the ocean. Sometimes, plastic bottles and shopping bags hit my face while I was swimming.”
Abeysundera said he was saddened to see plastic and polythene being carried towards our country by the waves.
“That’s why I asked everyone to work to make our ocean a place free of polythene and plastic. I will continue to contribute to the endeavor,” he added
Amaraweera said he would request President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to allow Abeysundera to participate in environmental programmes. “I also requested the Defence Secretary to pay attention to this matter,” he added.
Speaking at the ceremony, Amaraweera said that Abeysundera’s request that no plastic and polythene be dumped into the ocean should be heeded by the entire world.
“The World Earth Day falls on April 22. The main theme of this year’s World Earth Day is ‘Restore our Earth’, Amaraweera said.
Abeysundera is expected to participate in the launch of programmes on the occasion of World Earth Day.
Abeysundera set a new record by swimming across the Palk Strait. Earlier that record was set by Sri Lankan swimming champion Kumar Anandan.
The Minister also said that he had issued a gazette notification banning several types of polythene and plastic products used here. That law had come into effect on 31 March, he said.
Reports indicated that the production of sachets had come to a halt, the Minister said.
Companies had confirmed that the sachets currently in the market would sell out in another three or four months. “By the end of 2021, the sale of sachets in Sri Lanka will come to a complete halt. I have informed the Central Environmental Authority to strictly enforce that law.”
Air Commodore Senaka Fernandopulle and Additional Secretaries to the Ministry were also present on the occasion.