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Sri Lanka’s marine protection agency calls for tougher laws against ocean pollution

Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority on Thursday, April 11, 2019 urged countries along the Bay of Bengal to draft stronger laws against polluting the oceans due to the formation of a dead zone in the centre.

Ocean pollution
Ocean pollution

The General Manager, Marine Environment Protection Authority, Dr P.B. Teney, said this in Colombo.

Teney said that authorities had discovered the formation of a dead zone in the Bay of Bengal which had spread across a 6,000 square kilometre area and was 100 metres to 400 metres in depth.

This dead zone is located east of India, northeast of Sri Lanka, south of Bangladesh and west of Thailand, Indonesia and Myanmar.

Teney said that the reason for the formation of the dead zone was excessive ocean pollution through the dumping of polythene, plastic, other non degradable pollutants and chemicals which were flowing in from these countries.

“The dead zone concept first emerged in the 1970s where scientists discovered that there were some dead zones forming in the oceans.

“And the reason for this was the presence of a high amount of chemicals and pollutants which led to the lack of oxygen. Due to this, marine life disappeared from the area.

“The dead zone which is forming in the centre of the Bay of Bengal will affect the five countries surrounding it because if this dead zone expands it will lead to a further destruction in marine life.

“Others are hampering of the fisheries and tourism sectors of these countries. All these countries depend on these two sectors,” Teney said.

He further explained that the six countries along the Bay of Bengal must be responsible for the management of this dead zone by having their own waste management programmes.

He urged for an agreement between these countries at a regional level as well as an agreement at a global level for the destruction of non degradable pollutants “so that it is not washed into the oceans’’.

“At present unfortunately, there is no such agreement.

“But in the future with the help of international agencies, we hope there is a better understanding and stronger regulations which will enable us to protect our marine life,” Teney said.

He further explained that these dead zones would not affect the navigation and shipping industries. 

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