Filing this petition through Attorney-at-law Ravindranath Dabare, the petitioners are further seeking an order directing the respondents to dispose of the plastic pellets, nurdles and other debris of MV X-Press Pearl which are collected and stored in containers in an environmentally friendly manner or in the alternative to re-export such waste.
Marine Environment Protection Authority, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Chairman of Port Authority Capt. Nihal Keppetipola, Director General of Merchant Shipping A.W.Seneviratne, Central Environmental Authority, X-Press Feeders Company Sea Consortium Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, Attorney General and several others were named as respondents in the petition.
Petitioners state that what were once serene sandy beaches in Sri Lanka are now covered in debris that has washed ashore from the blazing MV X-Press Pearl.
Petitioners state that as of 13th of June 2021, the Marine Environmental Protection Authority has reported that over 1000 tonnes of debris including plastic nurdles were collected from the beaches and stored in 44 containers.
The Petitioners state that the fishermen living on the coast from Kalpitiya to Hikkaduwa are predominantly engaged in fisheries-related occupations and the livelihood of these fishermen has been severely affected and coastal fisheries have been halted on the Western coast. Furthermore, fishermen who are allowed to go fishing can’t sell their catch because people are afraid to eat seafood due to chemical poisoning.
The petitioners further state that under the polluter pays principle, polluters and responsible parties are required to pay for the damage they cause to the territorial sea and its ocean life, water quality, air quality, and other interests such as damage to livelihoods and fisheries in addition to the cost of emergency response, cleanups and compensation to the victims of pollution.
The petitioners are also seeking an order directing respondents to pay compensation for the loss caused to the fishermen and the fishing industry in the affected areas.