People Who Loved The Sea


October 11, 2015


With only about one-sixth of the original coral cover left, most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years, primarily due to the loss of grazers in the region, according to the latest report by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

There was another report issued in 2014 by UNEP which stated that over 30 per cent of the natural capital costs of plastic are due to greenhouse gas emissions from raw material extraction and processing. However, it notes that marine pollution is the largest downstream cost, and that the figure of US$13 billion is likely a significant underestimate.

A large and unquantifiable amount of plastic waste enters the ocean from littering, poorly managed landfills, tourist activities and fisheries. Some of this material sinks to the ocean floor, while some floats and can travel over great distances on ocean currents polluting shorelines and accumulating in massive mid-ocean gyres.

There have been many reliable reports of environmental damage due to plastic waste: mortality or illness when ingested by sea creatures such as turtles, entanglement of animals such as dolphins and whales, and damage to critical habitats such as coral reefs. There are also concerns about chemical contamination, invasive species spread by plastic fragments, and economic damage to the fishing and tourism industries in many countries by, for example, fouling fishing equipment and polluting beaches.

It has been a serious issue where green house gases and global warming have been a major factor for coral bleaching and destruction to marine life. Sri Lanka also have faced similar such issues in the coastal line with the seal level rising. I met two passionate scuba divers who have been with the sea and observed the changes in the sea during past 40 years. Mr.Lakshaman Mutukuda started his diving career 40 years ago. Been a PADI Scuba Diving Trainer, Lakshman Muthukuda, a professional diver having more than 25 years of experience is the director of UHDC and he is personally conducting training courses. He has been a PADI professional for 15 years and has trained more than a thousand of students from every part of the world. Today he observes the changes in the sea where he feels that younger generation have a huge role to play in saving the sea.

Those days shore was clear, but now it’s under the sea. It has caused lot of destruction to the area. Sea changes In the off season, now there’s a big change in the weather, its usual that sea gets changes with the off season, but season starts right time, but now we can see raining every time even in the hi season. So the visibility is low, how far you can see horizontally, that’s how a diver say, because the particles in the water doesn’t gets settled and visibility goes down. So constant raining helps all these particles not to get settle down” He further stated that change of weather patterns and sea level rise is a huge issue for photosynthesis in the sea.

“Sea level rise is due to melting of ice, as I earlier said shore line is under the sea now, so sea level is rising affects the marine life of coral, sponge and anemone. So all these activities takes place with photosynthesis and sea level rising has caused less light to marine life which affects their photosynthesis process, If this is going to continue there will be lack of oxygen in the atmosphere, this is a cycle and now it has brake down so particles doesn’t gets settle as usual in the sea”.

Sumedha Liyanage  a colleague of Lakshman Mutukuda for the past 30 years and have been working together to photograph the beautiful sea depths in Sri Lanka. What he thinks that with the changes in the past 30 years that he observed taking of pictures underwater has become a risks for underwater ocean photographers in Sri Lanka.


“We need good light, clear water and perfect timing to take pictures underwater, but now all these does not happen together regularly. So we cannot plan a time to take pictures in the reef now as visibility is low due to weather, so we cannot plan anything as usual.” says Sumedha.

Today what Lakshman believes is that the younger generation needs to be more aware to save the marine life and take action for climate justice. “People are not aware on protecting the reefs, if we educate them from their childhood they will understand the importance of the sea and why we need to protect our precious marine life.” Today Lakshman have become a conservationists who wants to protect the beauty of the sea with the support of people like Sumedha Liyanage , Lakshman do lot of school awareness campaigns for kids around the coastal line of Sri Lanka.

It is essential to bring a solution globally for climate change as passionate people like Sumedha and Lakshman efforts will be valued for future generations.