Un­planned build­ings, in­clud­ing lodg­ings, ho­tels, restau­rants, shops, bun­ga­lows and malls, have de­faced the once-pic­turesque town and the num­ber of build­ings ex­ceeds the town's ca­pac­ity

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - COMMENT/NEWS -

laments the sad state of his home town.

“Streams have gone dry. The un­planned de­vel­op­ment has af­fected the rich bio­di­ver­sity and cre­ated a drink­ing wa­ter prob­lem in the town. There is unau­tho­rised con­struc­tion. Vis­i­tors are un­aware of the rich bio­di­ver­sity the town once pos­sessed,’’ he com­plained.

“When we were young there were many spots for in­land fish­ing along the banks of the Nanu Oya stream. Now the streams are pol­luted.’’

Mee­goda Ga­m­age Ni­mal, a busi­ness­man and a res­i­dent, said the city was fast chang­ing.

“Today there is no beauty in this town as I re­mem­ber it. Now, all you see are tow­er­ing city malls. The cool cli­mate, pure wa­ter and the nat­u­ral beauty of the land­scape is be­ing de­stroyed,’’ he said.

“Where have the cy­press trees gone? They are not seen even in ar­eas sur­round­ing Gre­gory's Lake. The flow­ers by the lake are no more. Even the bio­di­ver­sity is van­ish­ing with no cater­pil­lars, frogs, and crick­ets who made the nights come alive.

“The out­dated drainage sys­tem has be­gun to pol­lute the drink­ing wa­ter. The un­planned dig­ging of tube wells have cre­ated an im­bal­ance in ground wa­ter lev­els. these prob­lems have col­lec­tively cre­ated an im­bal­ance in bio­di­ver­sity. It is the town plan­ners who are at fault,’’ he said.

Upali Abeyas­inghe, a for­mer deputy district sec­re­tary of Nuwara Eliya, said the city has changed. He said many peo­ple in Nuwara Eliya pre­ferred agri­cul­ture over state sec­tor em­ploy­ment. But, now, there is less land for agri­cul­ture be­cause of the many build­ings that have been built.

Mr. Abeyas­inghe stressed that in any plan­ning, the preser­va­tion of the bio­di­ver­sity should be a pri­or­ity. He praised the garbage man­age­ment and dis­posal scheme launched re­cently.

Chaminda Ma­hanayake

H M Wi­jepala

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