Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)

Flood havoc if Attidiya Wetlands are destroyed



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.”

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