Rajarata University of Sri Lanka
Students and the academic staff of the Department of Agricultural Engineering and Soil Science in collaborate with the Arthacharya Foundation organized a walk on 29th of December 2018 to raise the awareness on conservation of Malwathu Oya. This was the first step in Malwathu Oya conservation project undertaken by the Malwathu Oya Conservation Guild. In this walk students were engaged with cleaning along the way while enhancing the awareness of people about the issues surrounding the Malwathu Oya.
Malwathu Oya begins its journey from Ritigala and brings clear, fresh water to Anuradhapura, where it supplies water required by the city and the neighboring villages. Unfortunately, the water that leaves the city is loaded with pollutants. We have noticed three canals which flow across the city into Malwathu Oya and these canals are the major sources of pollution. It is also worth mentioning that the fecal coliform in water samples collected downstream from the city showed extremely higher values which caused many adverse effects to the ecosystem as well as the people settled downstream.
The aim of this walk was to enhance awareness among the general public on current status of the pollution occurring in Malwathu Oya and to build a conversation around it. This is a preliminary step and in the future, we hope to build a forum where different stakeholders, including those that live on the banks of Malwathu Oya, and exchange ideas and views on this issue and finally to generate a sustainable plan to conserve the Malwathu Oya river basin.
Pollution of the Malwathu Oya stream is a very complex issue that we cannot expect a solution from overnight. Thus, the process will continue to strive until the Malwathu Oya reaches a semblance of its former state.