The Wilpattu National Park is dotted with natural lakes that are home to over 31 species of mammals and numerous species of birds. On inspection, our teams discovered that more than 50% of the Hunuwila tank was covered with the Water Hyacinth. The water plant found commonly in Sri Lanka, inhabits fresh-water bodies such as tanks, canals, marshes, ponds and lakes, obstructing navigation routes and the flow of water, causing inundation and degradation of water quality for both, domestic and recreational use.

Volunteers from MAS, 75 villagers, the park’s warden, the Sri Lanka Navy and several government officials came together to remove the invasive species from 54 acres of the tank. The Water Hyacinth, rich in nitrogen, was subsequently used by the farmers in the neighbouring areas as mulch and compost for their agricultural activities. The community now maintains and cleans the tank to ensure that the Water Hyacinth does not threaten the park again.