National Environment Act to be strengthened
The new amendments also propose to increase the penalties for those who destroy the environment tenfold, the Minister said. Accordingly, the Environment Ministry has already submitted a Cabinet Memorandum.
The Minister said that the new amendments are aimed at addressing the legal and institutional issues that have arisen today and are expected to arise in the future in relation to the environmental sector in Sri Lanka.
The National Environmental Act has been amended several times to take into account the changes that need to take place from time to time. The National Environmental Act No. 47 of 1980 has been amended on several occasions in 1988, 2000, 2018 and 2019.
“However, the current environmental problems are so complex that the provisions for national environmental protection as well as the fines and penalties for environmental damage caused by certain individuals are not sufficient. For example, the production, distribution, and sale of lunch sheets have been banned since 2018. But manufactures are illegally manufactured, distributed, and sold. Arrested in raids and produced in court but the fines and penalties are not sufficient. It has also been decided to strengthen the existing legal provisions regarding illegal activities in protected ecological zones as they are not sufficient,” the Minister said.