The Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Authority (SLAEA) has joined hands with India, Malaysia and Vietnam to exchange air pollution data in Asia, SLAEA Chairman Dr W Abeywickreme told the Daily News yesterday. This was initiated with a proposal presented by Sri Lanka.
The three countries have expressed their prompt willingness to establish a data exchange system with each other in the wake of radiation leak at Japan’s nuclear plants.
He said that the Authority is in constant touch with the reports of Incidents and Emergency Centre of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna while conducting air monitoring in selected places around the country.
He said that a team of scientists was sent to collect data on air monitoring to Galle and Matara on Wednesday.
The team was to visit Peradeniya and Anuradhapura yesterday. It will also cover Trincomalee and Colombo today.
The Chairman said that air monitoring will be continued for about a week and a post analysis will be carried out using that data. He said that the public will be made aware of its results shortly.
He also noted that collection of samples from water, food crops and livestock is also in progress to check possible radiation effect in them. He said that a special Hot Line 2547332 has been activated for those who want to contact them on radiation checks. Anybody returning from Japan can have a radiation check by coming here. But this has not been made mandatory up to now, he said.
He pointed out that Sri Lanka is heading towards the end of North East Monsoon and therefore no strong winds approach the island during this period which acts as a favourable condition. “It was reported that the air waves coming from Japan will take at least a month to reach Sri Lanka. At the moment the Asian countries have faced no immediate threat. However we are constantly monitoring the situation,” he said.
As a precautionary measure Iodine tablets are distributed among people in Japan since radiation may affect thyroid glands. However, there is no cause for panic for Sri Lankans, he said.