Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)
Flood havoc if Attidiya Wetlands are destroyed
BY LAKNA PARANAMANNA
Environmentalists yesterday expressed concern over land reclamation in the Attidiya Wetlands and pointed out that instead of working towards flood-prevention, the reduction of wetlands would result in worse flooding in the City.
Species Conservation Centre Chairman Pubudu Weeraratne told a media briefing that land reclamation which began on December 26 last year on the instructions of the Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (LRDC) has violated several regulations of the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance and the National Environment Act.
“Land reclamation in the Attidiya Wetlands is being carried out under the ‘Weras Ganga Project’ to ease flooding in the City and improve the environment. However this project had reduced the Wetlands from 302 hectares to 293 hectares,” Mr. Weeraratne said.
He said though the project was being carried out by a government institution, its illegal nature provides enough reasons to arrest those engaged in the reclamation project. But despite several complaints made to the Wildlife Conservation Department, the Central Environmental Authority and the Wildlife Resources Conservation Department, little or no action had been taken to stop this project. Senior environmentalist and environmental lawyer Jagath Gunawardena commenting on the legalities of the ‘Weras Ganga Project’ and the land reclamation carried out in the Attidiya Wetlands said, “The Government has the right and is vested with legal provisions to carry out activities in Government-reserved lands for the benefit of the people. However, because the Attidiya Wetlands is a protected area and declared as a sanctuary there are no legal provisions to carry out reclamation projects there.”