On the sidelines of Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Piyal De Silvaâ€™s visionary concept to implement the environmental protection pilot project â€“ â€œNeela Haritha Sangramayaâ€, the Naval Dockyard in Trincomalee has been declared a Domain of Green and Blue today (21st June 2019). Incidentally, Commander of the Navy unveiled a plaque to mark the declaration of this timely concept.
The ocean and coastal resources of Sri Lanka are currently facing three types of separate but, interactive threats. The first is pollution from both land and sea-based sources, which causes direct damage to specialized ecosystem such as mangroves, coral reefs and sea grasses whilst weakening the ability of marine plant and animals to survive. The second is a direct threat to the biomass and ecological balance of the marine environment through over fishing and unsustainable extraction of resources. The third threat is from the direct physical damage to coastal and marine ecosystem from urban development activities.
Sri Lanka Navy being the ideal organization to address such issues having the unique character, resources and capabilities has decided to undertake a special project with the aim to establish a sustainable environment. Further, Sri Lanka is one the leading nations that has ratified almost forty-one international conventions, agreements, treaties and protocols related to the environment.
Therefore, it is a national obligation for the country to protect and conserve the environment. In addition, His Excellency the President Maithripala Sirisena has extended his mandate and commitment to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2025 in Sri Lanka, during last UN summit in which environment is one of the areas to be addressed.
The Naval Dockyard is a spectacular territory spanning over 850 acres covered by vegetation and surrounded by deep blue ocean. The dockyard is home to over 9,000 naval and civil personnel and it is often frequented by a large number of local and foreign tourists. As such, the Navy, with its noble effort, endeavours to inspire those who visit this stunning piece of land and change their attitudes in making the whole county a Domain of Green and Blue, coupled with right motivation. Hence, the Naval Dockyard is expected to be developed as a model and regulate it often to motivate the general public to take a leaf out of that book and be more green and blue activists.
As part of declaring the Naval Dockyard a Domain of Green and Blue a large number of initiatives including mangrove plantation, turtle conservation, tree plantation, beach cleaning, public awareness programmes, coral replantation and conservation, energy conservation, solar power projects, water conservation, bio gas projects, waste water management, recycling of plastic and polythene, conservation of wild animals, rain water harvesting projects, sewage treatment projects, paper recycling projects, creating paper free office premises and encouraging community for legal fishing practices have been set in motion.
Meanwhile, to enhance the quality and performance of urban services such as energy, transportation and utilities in order to reduce resource consumption, wastage and overall costs, the Smart City concept has been introduced to the Naval Dockyard. As such, eco-friendly and practical programmes such as smart card for entrance and exit of people and vehicles at the main gate, solar powered street lamps, solar vehicles, digital boards for instruction and announcements, using internet for monthly reports, use of bicycles for internal short distance commuting are scheduled to be introduced.
Further, dedicated working groups have been appointed to undertake each of these projects and they are closely supervised by a special monitoring committee led by Commander Eastern Naval Area. Meanwhile, Commander of the Navy is also determined to introduce this Green-Blue project to other Naval Commands in time to come.