As part of its broader sustainability agenda, Unilever Sri Lanka remains committed to collecting +100% of the equivalent plastic it sells into the domestic market. A key enabler of this will be a public-private partnership between Unilever the CEA and the MEPA to clean and step up the health of the Kelani River which provides drinking water to 4 million Sri Lankans. This was formalized through a MoU signed recently.

Ali Tariq, Chairman and CEO at Unilever Sri Lanka said, “In our efforts to create a circular economy for plastics, we are proud to confirm that over the last 2 years we have collected +100% of the equivalent plastic volume that we have sold through our products. The Kelani River clean-up  partnership will enable our commitment to continue to do so and support the national agenda of ‘Extended Producer Responsibility for plastic manufacturers’. A clean Kelani River will not only provide safe drinking water but also foster a thriving environment for fishing and tourism, creating opportunities and improve living standards.”

Venura Fernando, Chairman of Central Environmental Authority further stated, “We find it promising to witness corporates such as Unilever stepping in to fulfill their ‘Extended Producer Responsibilities’ through enduring commitments and partnerships. The collaboration with Unilever Sri Lanka on the Kelani River cleanup project exemplifies this effort. Public-Private Partnerships will play a crucial role in addressing environmental challenges, and we are optimistic that this initiative will effectively harness the combined expertise of both sectors for a sustainable future,”

This five-year project will encompass multiple activities, including cleaning programs along the river, the adjoining beaches and the seabed. These will be implemented in collaboration with local councils, and through community engagement and training to raise awareness amongst schoolchildren, residents and local authority workers, and the installation of floating barriers to prevent further pollution. The initiatives will focus on the mouth of the river to prioritise the health of the coastal ecosystems and marine life.

“MEPA is fully supportive of this project and recognizes the importance of protecting our precious marine environment said Asela Rekawa, Chairman of Marine Environment Protection Authority. “The Kelani River feeds directly into the ocean, and effective waste management practices are crucial to safeguard our marine resources.”

The project adds to Unilever Sri Lanka’s broader sustainability agenda. The latter extends to also addressing climate change, protecting nature, promoting responsible plastic use, and recognising the vital role healthy ecosystems play in supporting livelihoods.


Photo Caption


Anushka Kumarasinghe (Country Safety, Health & Environment Manager of Unilever Sri Lanka), Damith Abeyratne (Supply Chain Director, Unilever Sri Lanka), Ali Tariq (Chairman & CEO of Unilever Sri Lanka), B. K. P. Chandrakeerthi (Secretary, Ministry of Environment), Venura Fernando (Chairman, Central Environmental Authority), Hemantha Jayasinghe (Director General, Central Environmental Authority), Asela Rekawa (Chairman, Marine Environment Protection Authority)

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