Assessment of Pb Content in mangrove sediments and Avicennia marina plants from Batticaloa Lagoon


Assessment of Pb content in Avicennia marina in Mattakali, B ... , Mattakali, Batticaloa © Kumudini Ekaratne, IUCN, 2012


  • Inventorise species in the Mattakali
  • Assess the Pb levels in Avicennia marina, sediments and water
  • Preparation of handbooks  and dissemination
  • Conduct a Study on the impact of tourism


Batticaloa lagoon (located between 7o58’0N and 81o29’0E to 7o20’0N and 81o52’0E; 880644N and 553268E to 810690N and 595658E) is Sri Lanka's third largest brackish water body with more than 90% of the area located in the Batticaloa District, Eastern Province. The southern end is located in the Ampara District. Total area is 11,500 ha.

Pollution of the Batticaloa lagoon is expected with increasing land clearing for agriculture and urbanization with the conclusion of the war in 2009.

Around 321 ha of mangroves fringing the estuary and areas such as Mattakali and Pankudaweli are inhabited by various species such as Rhizophora apiculata, R. mucronata, Sonneratia ovalis and Avicennia officinalis. Large areas that earlier had well developed mangroves are now dominated by scruby mangrove species such as Cerbera manghas, Clerodendron inerme and Exoecaria agallocha. Open areas are dominated by saltmarsh species (example, Sesuvium portulacastrum and Suaeda maritama) and sea grass beds (example, Enhalus and Halophila) are found in the northern most parts where the water is more brackish (salinity around 40 ppt near the mouth during some seasons). Noteworthy fauna are the threatened birds such as Leptoptilus javanicus and Pelecanus phillippensis and threatened reptiles such as the Crocodylus palustris.

Socio-economic characteristics: Local economy is mainly based on agriculture and lagoon fisheries; more than 10,000 families depend on the lagoon fishery for livelihoods and food security. There are numerous historical and cultural sites nearby, such as the Kannaki Amman Kovil and the Dutch Fort at Puliyantivu that dates back to 1680. Presently, due to the end of the war and the scenic values the lagoon is becoming a good location for tourism. 

Policy context and relationship to national policies;  The lagoon is state owned under the purview of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the relevant DS.

Community context: Most of the families are Muslims and Tamils engaged in lagoon fisheries more than 10,000 families depend on the lagoon fishery for livelihoods and food security


  • Inventorise species in the Mattakali
  • Assess the Pb levels in Avicennia marina, sediments and water
  • Preparation of handbooks and dissemination
  • Conduct a Study on the impact of tourism


Target beneficiaries

General public and planners.


  1. Inventory of faunal and floral species in Mattakalai
  2. Reports on Pb content in Avicennia marina, sediments and water
  3. Report on the impact of tourism on the Batticaloa lagoon 
  4. Handbook on project findings

Accomplishments and challenges

Project was completed successfully.

Contributions to cross-cutting themes

In people’s or community participation, the gender equity is of prime importance for the success of the project. In most instances except for some isolated cases, female participation in mangrove restoration / conservation efforts / projects in Sri Lanka is low when compared with male participation depending on the activities assigned. As a tool, gender disaggregation of data can be used to assess and describe and differentiate the roles played by men and women in mangrove rehabilitation and restoration in the project community. However, the women have high participation in mangrove/maintenance activities and attendance to training/meetings etc. Generally, they have low participation in the establishment of mangrove nursery, mangrove management activities, taking part in discussion and in presiding meetings.

In this project in Batticaloa, the women participation was improved through education awareness sessions and provide them with the opportunity to play lead roles in meetings, decision making so that they will be empowered and the equal gender participation could be ensured. 

Lessons Learned

Under saline conditions Pb removal by mangrove plants becomes negligible, leaving high levels in the water (which could become bioavailable). However, cleared areas have statistically significant levels of Pb in the water than in mangrove occurring areas indicating that mangrove  cover to some extent is still required in the phytoremediation and bioremediation of toxic substances such as heavy metals.

Project Facts



Mattakali, Batticaloa



15th Sep 2012 to 14th Jan 2013

MFF Grant Amount

LKR 1,250,000/-

Co-financing Partner

LKR 317,500.00

Implementing Partner

Eng Channa Fernando
General Manager
EML Consultants (Private) Limited
68, Davidson Road
Colombo 4
Sri Lanka
Tel: + 94 11-5535880
Fax:  + 9411-5535877

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