Celebrating World Oceans Day through art: An initiative by The Pearl Protectors 

As the global pandemic has yet again taken centre stage, preparations are being made

around the globe to celebrate World Oceans Day on 8 June in very unique and creative

ways. In Sri Lanka, along with the virtual World Oceans Day summit, an art competition and

an online exhibition is to take place. 

When we think of public health risks, we may not think of the ocean. Increasingly, however, the health of the ocean is intimately tied to our health. This is one of the multiple reasons why we should celebrate World Oceans Day; to remind everyone of the major role oceans have in everyday life. 

The art competition will be organised by The Pearl Protectors, which is a youth-led marine conservation effort for the second year. The Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA),

Blue Resources Trust, Dilmah Conservation, and World Oceans Day International will be

partnering in celebrating this year’s World Oceans Day in Sri Lanka.

The global call for this year’s celebrations has been “30X30”, which is a call to action to

safeguard at least 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030. Although the ocean covers 70% of the Earth’s surface it is still woefully underprotected, with only 2% strongly protected from destructive or extractive activities. Science is telling us we need to do much more to ensure a healthy ocean for future generations. Strong protection of at least 30% of the ocean is needed by 2030 (30×30) to build the resilience of ocean life to adapt to climate change and buffer it from other threats like overfishing. We all need to work together to supercharge ocean protection and make 30×30 a reality through action on the water, on the streets, and in the corridors of power.

Speaking to The Pearl Protectors Co-ordinator Muditha Katuwawala on the art project, he stated that the World Oceans Day art competition aims to depict the natural beauty of the marine environment through art while also aiming to highlight ocean pollution. The art competition and the exhibition will be conducted virtually where various artwork/paintings should be submitted as soft images.

The competition has both “School” and “Open” categories where submissions by artists

below the age of 19 will fall under the School category. The two themes for art submissions

are “Beauty of the marine environment” and “Ocean pollution”. Katuwawala explained that these two themes in particular were chosen as they plan to use the art they receive in their future projects to raise awareness on saving our oceans. “The majority of the Earth is covered in water, and when it comes to the oceans, there is a major threat from plastic pollution and waste pollution,” stated Katuwawala, adding that plastic pollution is something we can work on by reducing the usage and wastage of plastic. 

The competition is free and open for all and Katuwawala explained that submissions must contain a clear photograph of the artwork/painting and must be emailed to along with the details requested on the submission guidelines. “We are quite strict on the artwork adhering to the guidelines, so I urge everyone participating to read the rules available on the website to avoid disqualification.” The final day for submissions is 4 June 2021. He informed us that the top three artworks from each category, including an additional 30 top art submissions, will receive prizes. The winners will be announced on the final day of the summit, which is 8 June. 


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