Columnists,Top Story l by Hi!! Online l 3 May 2021     - 34

Ministry of Youth and Sports partners to WALK THE TALK with Waste Action LK (WALK) and EU

Photo left to right: 

  • Damitha Wickremasinghe, Chairman National Youth Council
  • Denis Chaibi, Ambassador, Head of Delegation of the EU to Sri Lanka. 
  • Hon. Namal Rajapaksa, Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, Sri Lanka
  • Radhika Philip and Savera Weerasinghe, Co-Founders Waste Action LK (WALK)

Honourable Minister Namal Rajapaksa accepted three documentary short films by Waste Action LK (WALK), on behalf of Sri Lanka. He was joined by the Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Sri Lanka, H.E. Denis Chaibi. The films bring together 50+ voices from across the island, from all walks of life, speaking on the record and sharing their example of better waste practices. With a particular focus on the reduction of Single Use Plastic, the films are presented under the collective title WALK THE TALK, SRI LANKA.

The Minister confirmed his participation and support of the non-profit WALK Network and its goals: “I am pleased to add WALK’s films to our Ministry’s mandate, as we see many areas of collaboration on the ground; we can make an impact and reduce single use plastic consumption. Driving responsible community-centric waste practices is a long-term goal of the Ministry and working together with the National Youth Council, we believe these films can raise awareness not only of the problem but also of the many solutions. Practical waste management solutions can contribute to youth empowerment and incentivise environmental protection. We are delighted to find many common goals with the EU in their Green Recovery and Economic Development Programmes.”

In January 2020, the European Delegation to Sri Lanka sponsored WALK to produce short films aimed at reducing consumption of Single Use Plastic. The budget allowed for filming in 18 locations across Sri Lanka with the clear mandate of collaboration. Speaking following the handover of the films to Hon. Minister Rajapaksa, Ambassador Denis Chaiba, Head of Delegation of the EU to Sri Lanka noted:

“We thank WALK for the hard work and passion that went into the production of this DVD. We are also grateful for the leadership the Minister of Youth is providing in supporting this campaign. Let’s talk about reducing single-use plastics, our oceans, our environment, our climate, our bio- diversity. We want to work towards a global economy that is innovative, energy- and resource- efficient, circular and pollution-free. An economy that prospers in harmony with our natural environment. This is why supporting a “green recovery” is one of the EU’s prime goals in our future cooperation with Sri Lanka. We want to work together towards an economy that does not harm the climate, protects bio-diversity and reduces pollution. Raising awareness is a first and important step. We hope these films will open eyes and generate a discussion on how Sri Lanka can make a turn towards producing less plastic waste, use more renewable energy and protect bio-diversity.”

The films, titled WALK THE TALK SRI LANKA are ready for release, to be launched by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the EU. An entirely Sri Lankan production, subtitled in three languages, each film targets action through individual and collective responsibility. WALK is a non-profit initiative formed in 2019 by Radhika Philip of R. Parker Publishing (Pvt) Ltd an independent publisher and Savera Weerasinghe of Ananta Sustainables, a waste management solutions provider. The WALK Network is comprised of Sri Lankan citizen groups, youth activists, social enterprises, businesses and state institutions working together toward responsible waste management practices. Through collaboration with expert partners, community leaders and a network of sustainability-conscious businesses, WALK drives a pro-active response to waste across the island.

Speaking of the films, WALK co-founder Radhika Philip stated: “These short documentaries gave us the opportunity to showcase a very real slice of Sri Lanka; of progressive people striving for change. Waste management is a global issue and it is with considerable national pride that we can share a forward-thinking commitment to realistic goals. The films are a call to action, for individual and collective responsibility. The EU’s support proved invaluable, in expanding the scope of WALK’s production. We are honoured to be working with Hon. Namal Rajapaksa toward a progressive, sustainable Sri Lanka.”

Savera Weerasinghe, speaking on behalf of WALK’s stakeholders commented: “Collective action is the fastest way to drive the change that is necessary. WALK members have a wide range of expertise and experience across all sectors of the waste value chain, offering viable solutions for sustainable waste management. With support and incentives from the public sector, these solutions can be scaled to provide holistic, sustainable waste management for the island. These films represent the WALK Network’s efforts in taking large and small steps to invest in waste action. We’re proud to walk together for Sri Lanka.”

Wijeya Newspapers Limited will be the Official Print and Digital Media Partners for this initiative. WALK Films are scheduled for release via partnership between Ministry of Youth and Sports and EU on May 5th 2021.

#SayNoToPlastic #WalkTheTalk #SayNoToSingleUsePlastic #SriLanka


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