A t-shirt was launched at the Lighthouse Galley for the Navy Veterans titled “Men in Whites Navy Veterans”. This particular t-shirt is not made from any ordinary material. In fact, it was made from the plastics that were collected from the beaches all over the island.
Were you aware that seven billion of the world’s population annually produces 300 billion PET (polyethene terephthalate) bottles? Of this, 80% is eventually dumped into the environment and ends up in the beaches and later the ocean. From this harrowing number, it has been reported that Sri Lanka, is actually the world’s fifth-largest sea polluter, which is hardly surprising, seeing as the island produces an estimate of 1.59 million tons of plastic waste a year, most of which ends up in the ocean. Further reports suggest that this number is likely to have contributed to the Bay of Bengal’s ‘dead zone’, nearly half the size of Bangladesh and at depths 70m and below also the third-largest Oxygen Minimum Zone (OMZ) in the world.
The Sri Lanka Navy has always had one foot on land and one foot at sea. Hence, it is no surprise that they are utterly committed to the task of conserving the coastal ecosystem for our future generations. It is with this in mind that the “Ocean Plastics” campaign commenced, where they, along with a number of other organisations, took it upon themselves to make the coast of Sri Lanka plastic-free.
Thus began the beach cleaning and the collection of plastic waste from our beaches.
Accordingly, the plastic waste that was collected from the beaches was divided into two categories – clean plastic and contaminated plastic. The “clean plastic” mainly plastic bottles were then converted into yarn which was then converted to a comfortable, breathable material.
It is out of this very same material – which is upcycled waste plastic recovered from the beaches of Sri Lanka that the official jerseys worn by Sri Lanka’s national cricket team during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 were made.
Similarly, this material was also converted into the “Men in Whites Navy Veterans” t-shirt, launched, shared and worn by Sri Lanka’s very own Navy Veterans.