A community based initiative in Sri Lanka to keep our natural environment clean

Thalangama Wetland Watch

About us and our work


Thalangama Wetland Watch is a self-funded, non-profit, community-based initiative of citizens living in lake vicinity, who are highly motivated to protect their natural environment and human health. We feel that all citizens have responsibility and we like to set an example instead of waiting for others do take the first step. We are operating in close collaboration with public authorities and any other stakeholders building on our common interest in protecting our inheritance for future generations.

  • Removing Trash
    Thalangama Environmental Protected Area
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    The activities started in late 2016 by some families living near the Thalangama (Talangama) lake with the removal of about 50m3 of waste, which had accumulated over the last years. From then on, the activities focused on new trash, which visitors leave around the Thalangama and neighboring Avarihena tanks, and its adjacent water bodies. This includes food wrappings and leftovers, glass bottles, cans, yogurt cups, cigarette packs, plastic bags, bottles (soft drinks, beer and arak) but unfortunately also car loads of household or company waste (mixed organic/plastic/glass/paper/metal, diapers, meat or construction waste) dumped in larger bags overnight.

    We are currently monitoring about 3 km or 50 ha (see yellow line on the map). Depending on the pollution frequency and degree, 30% of the area are being controlled twice a day, 20% if possible several times a week, and 50% once a month. Regular monitoring is also needed as otherwise wind and rain will have blown or washed plastic (shopping) bags into the open water where they are much more cumbersome to retrieve. In collaboration with the authorities, we are separating all metal, glass and PE bottles, transport them to a collection point for recycling, while we leave organic waste for in-situ decomposition. We also check all waste for its possible source, report waste offenders to the authorities and/or visit them personally to express our sincere disapproval.
  • Reducing Dengue
    Our cleaning of cans and bottles supports apart from the beauty of this unique wetland, also our efforts to reduce dengue in the area. Many cans, bottles and cups show mosquito larvae! We also remove blockages in drains and streams that the water flows again.
  • Removal of invasive plant species
    With the help of volunteers, we are manually removing with boats and from the shore the quickly spreading Water Hyacinths from the lake surface. This floating weed is covering large parts of the southern end of the lake, and reducing its already low level of dissolved oxygen, affecting fish life and turtles. This is a labor intensive uphill battle and needs more support.
  • Other Work
    We display educational posters, fence dumping hot spots, engage in local landscaping, and explain good environmental practices. We also initiate or support clean-up actions for groups at both lakes or in neighboring communities, like at the Pellawatte lake or in other urban wetlands.