The river cleanup “Riviera” is an initiative by the Rotaract clubs of Faculty of Law, University of Colombo, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Faculty of Science, University of Colombo, University of Colombo, Faculty of Arts, University of Colombo and Faculty of Management and Finance.

Surrounded by luscious greens and standing at the height of 30m is Bopath Falls, one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Sri Lanka. The Kuruganga river originating from the Samanala Kanda (Adam’s peak) range of mountains is the starting point of this magnificent waterfall. There are many mysteries clouding this famous waterfall as some believe it hides a treasure trove while others also believe it is haunted. Nonetheless, known for its picturesque beauty and famous Bo leaf shape, Bopath Ella is a highly renowned tourist attraction, with many visiting it for adventure purposes, boat riding, or simply to gain peace of mind and enjoy its tranquil beauty.

Thus, inspired by its rich nature, we selected Bopath Ella Falls, situated in the Agalawatta area of the Ratnapura district, Sabaragamuwa province, as the prime location for our project. However, the path leading to the waterfall is lined up with street shops, and such commercialization among many other factors, has led to the area surrounding the waterfall being polluted. Such a precious site being riddled with waste was extremely unfortunate, so we decided to take action. As such, “Riviera”, the river cleanup, came into life.

The project was chaired by Rtr. Akeela Niyas, and it took place on the 26th of March 2022. To kick things off, 39 excited Rotaractors, equally eager and determined to carry out their day’s mission, gathered at Racecourse Colombo, where the day’s journey officially began at 5.30 a.m.

After having a quick but hearty breakfast at Avissawella, the group reached Bopath Ella around 9.30 a.m. and immediately got down to business. It was found that the entrance to the waterfall and river area was somewhat free of litter, which was rather unexpected, but delving deeper into the area, we were able to discover alarming amounts of garbage around the vicinity of the waterfall and riverbanks. So, there was a lot to clean up. However, before starting, the president of our club, Rtr. Arshad gave the necessary instructions to all the club members present, ensuring an effective and safe cleanup. The cleanup lasted nearly 3 hours and was completed around 12.30 p.m. Tons of garbage, including water bottles, plastic wrappers, liquor bottles and metal cans were unearthed by the crew. Our efforts truly paid off as we managed to collect a total of 20 garbage bags at the end of the day, making Riviera a huge success.

The Anton Company, the title sponsor for our project and whose delegates were also present at the river clean up, joined hands with us on this memorable occasion. They also contributed by hanging signboards that said, “do not litter”, to further spread the message of maintaining a clean, sustainable environment around Bopath Falls and encouraging future visitors to safeguard this incredible creation of mother nature.

After wrapping up the cleanup session, all the club members were ready to have some fun by going for a dip in the water as the cool weather and chilly waters of Bopath Falls were a refreshing mix that was hard to resist. Thus, the time spent in Bopath Falls was definitely an unforgettable experience.

All the club members who participated in Riviera were delighted with its outcome, and it was indeed a day well spent. This project reminded us how important it is to conserve the environment and cherish the natural treasures of our land. We thank everyone involved in Riviera for supporting us in reaching the goal of zero waste to end environmental pollution.

Written By:-

Rtr. Kavindya Delwatta
(Member 2021-22)

Edited By:-

Rtr. Githma De Silva
(Blog Team Member 2021-22)

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