‘Clean Lanka – Let’s Begin from the Temple’ to collaborate with 5,000 temples island-wide

Saturday, 10 June 2017 00:11 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Clean Lanka, a community-based initiative spearheaded by Sri Lanka Can Foundation, expects to have reached out to 5,000 temples island-wide by Poson festival. 

The second phase of Clean Lanka initiative, driven under the theme ‘Let’s Begin from the Temple’ (‘Pirisidu Lanka – Pansalen Patangamu’), was launched in tandem with the Vesak festival, aiming to spread awareness and inculcate best practices on proper segregation and management of waste at grass root level. 

In the wake of the garbage crisis which plagued the commercial capital and its suburbs as well as other major cities in the country, a need arose for a sustainable and ethical means of waste management. In this light, Clean Lanka was founded by Sri Lanka Can Foundation aiming to drive the nation towards a positive communal change on waste management. 

The first phase of the Clean Lanka initiative was driven successfully under the theme ‘Let’s Begin from Home’ (‘Pirisidu Lanka – Gedarin Patangamu’), highlighting on the importance of refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and upcycle. 

Coinciding with the Vesak full moon Poya day, the second phase of the initiative, ‘Let’s Begin from the Temple,’ commenced at the Sambodhi Vesak Zone on R.G. Senanayake Mawatha (Gregory’s Road), where a stall was set up with separate bins to segregate waste into glass, polythene or plastic, and paper. 

This was followed by a cleaning campaign conducted at the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara premises, where entire temple premises was cleaned by students and committee members of the Kelaniya University as well as the devotees. 

A press conference was held to enlighten the media on Clean Lanka initiative’s second phase ‘Let’s Begin from the Temple’ at the Kuppiawatte Jayasekararama temple recently. The panel, headed by Chairman of Sangha Council Ven. Liyanwala Sasana Rathana Thero, General Secretary Ven. Kattakaduwe Sumana Rathana Thero and Ven. Waga Vijithawansa Thero, explained about the initiative and its future activities. 

Addressing the media, Ven. Waga Vijithawanse Thero expressed that the message has been successfully disseminated as far as the city of Anuradhapura, where measures have already been taken to place waste bins in religious sites.

According to the General Secretary of the National Sangha Council Ven. Kattakaduwe Sumanarathana Thero, several temples in the country have already adapted the core concept and best practices of the initiative. Ven. Sumanarathana Thero further added: “We hope to spread the message to 5,000 temples across the island by Poson. It’s important to raise awareness at the grassroot level, even more so among the younger generation as they’re not as conservative as adults in the society.”

“We have raised awareness among our regular donors and philanthropists and encouraged them to use only organic substitutes such as banana leaves when serving alms instead of lunch sheets and polythene based products. In addition, we have prioritised on educating the schools and Sunday school children on minimising inorganic waste and encouraging the use of reusable lunch boxes and bottles instead of disposable lunch sheets and bottles. Children from foreign countries adopt good habits of recycling, upcycling, and the use of organic products at a very young age. We believe this initiative too will drive the people of this country towards a much needed attitudinal change,” Ven. Kattakaduwe Sumanarathan Thero said.

Elaborating further Sri Lanka Can Foundation Member Milinda Rajapakshe noted: “This endeavour has clearly instilled a positive influence in the community as we have observed from our first initiative ‘Clean Lanka – Let’s Begin from Home’. As a result, several priests have taken proactive measures to visit temples and disseminate the message – encouraging people to follow the Dhamma which promotes spreading loving kindness to all living beings and environmental protection. We expect that our initiative will inspire more people to adapt the good practices and propel a positive communal change.” 

He further noted that a cleaning campaign has been organised at the premises of Ruwanweli Maha Seya to coincide with the Poson full moon Poya day.