Plasticcycle – the Social Entrepreneurship project of John Keells Group, hosted a webinar on 4th June 2020, in line with this year’s theme for World Environment Day, on Biodiversity Conservation Trends Post Covid-19 with renowned Wildlife & Fisheries Biologist Vimukthi Weeratunga. Mr. Weeratunga was , a, was Manager for Nature Trails – Cinnamon Holidays as of May 2020, was the scientific advisor for the documentary ‘Wild Sri Lanka’ produced by Mike Birkhead Associate of UK for National Geographic Channel and was also the Head of the Biodiversity and species program of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Sri Lanka Country office.
Through this webinar, with an objective of being catalyst in significantly reducing plastic pollution in Sri Lanka Plasticcycle raised awareness on the importance of Biodiversity Conservation and the trends brought on by Covid-19 as result of decreased pollution. Mr. Weeratunga spoke of biodiversity conservation trends from late 2019 and early 2020, and the impact of lockdowns on flora and fauna key to Sri Lankan biodiversity. Natural re-vegetation, the lack of pollution, and increased food sources provided relief for fragmented and isolated animal and plant populations. As integral components of the environment, natural ecosystems are cradles for biodiversity, carbon capture, crop pollination, pest control, and soil and water conservation. Emphasis must be placed on mitigating air, water and land pollution as a significant part of Sri Lanka’s pledge for biodiversity conservation, as well as restoring degraded ecosystems to ensure a healthy and sustainable environment.
Island-wide lockdown brought industries to a halt, and the production of goods and services were limited for an extended period of time. The statistics presented during the webinar showed that this reduced the demand on natural resources, and in return, reduced the impact of pollution caused by regular activities to fulfill the prior demand.
Weeratunga stated that, “it is up to us to assess and take action following the impacts of the curfew and lockdowns on the biodiversity and start to love and care for all life forms around us, whether they are charismatic or otherwise”.
Plasticcycle is a Social Entrepreneurship Project of John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH), Sri Lanka’s largest listed conglomerate in the Colombo Stock Exchange operating over 70 companies in 7 diverse industry sectors. JKH provides direct employment to over 13,000 persons and has been ranked as Sri Lanka’s ‘Most Respected Entity’ for the last 14 Years by LMD Magazine. Whilst being a full member of the World Economic Forum and a Member of the UN Global Compact, JKH drives its vision of ‘empowering the nation for tomorrow’ through the John Keells Foundation.