In May 2021, the cargo ship X-Press Pearl caught fire outside of Sri Lanka. After the first wave of air pollution, the second wave of pollutants hit the beaches. It consisted of lost cargo, including billions of plastic pellets (microplastics used to produce plastics). Through summarizing the events leading up to and following the fire, analyzing plastics found on the beaches for toxic chemicals, and interviewing 107 fishermen and other locals, this report looks at:
Gothenburg, Sweden Risks associated with the transport of chemicals and plastics in ever-larger container ships need to be addressed, say the authors of the first public study into the impacts on people and the environment of toxic chemicals released during the largest plastic pellet spill on record.
The report, X-Press Pearl: a ‘new kind of oil spill’, a toxic mix of plastics and invisible chemicals, is published today by health and environmental advocates International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) and The Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ). It includes results of the groups’ analysis of plastic debris that washed up on Sri Lankan beaches, and testimonies from communities devastated by the pollution, following the loss of the X-Press Pearl, which sank off the port of Colombo in May 2021.
The Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) first started working on Lead (Pb) paint elimination back in 2009. Ever since, CEJ engaged in advocacy, research, awareness and campaigning in order to make the Sri Lankan paint market lead safe. The purpose of this study was to monitor whether decorative paints with high lead levels are still being sold in Sri Lanka eight years after government restrictions were imposed in 2013.
Colombo, Sri Lanka For days it stood burning off the Sri Lanka coast, plumes of thick dark smoke that could be seen from miles away. But the X-Press Pearl has now fallen silent, lying half sunken off the coast of Sri Lanka, its hull resting on the shallow ocean bed.
But though the flames have now been doused - the problems have only just begun.
IPEN Participating Organization Centre for Environmental Justice, with Friends of the Earth Sri Lanka, have released the newest edition of "Ejustice." Issues highlighted in the newsletter are coal use in Sri Lanka and the blocking of the ban on the pesiticide glyphosate.