National Policy on Environmental Sensitive Area Protection is being formulated
The Ministry of Environment has taken steps to identify ecologically sensitive areas in Sri Lanka and formulate a national policy to protect them, which according to Minister Mahinda Amaraweera is a first for the country.
The draft of the national policy has already been prepared and finalized.
The Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera stated that steps will be taken to submit the National Policy to the Attorney General’s Department and to the Cabinet and Parliament in accordance with its recommendations.
The Minister made this statement addressing a media briefing held at the Ministry of Environment.
“Our country is rich in biodiversity. According to the National Red Data List, 253 species of snails, 245 species of butterflies, 240 species of birds, 211 species of reptiles, 748 species of vertebrates and 1492 species of invertebrates live in our environment.Around 43 per cent of the Teridopite species, 87 per cent of the amphibians, 59 per cent of the reptiles, 19 per cent of the mammals and 07 per cent of the bird species are endemic to our country” the minister said.
“Also, when we look at the plant system in our country, we have a majority of endemic plant species. Out of 336 species of ferns and 3154 species of flowering plants, 916 varieties are endemic to our country” he added.
Amaraweera said as the Minister of Environment, he was always keen to take policy measures to protect all these natural resources.
“Therefore, the draft required to formulate a National Policy on Environmentally Sensitive Areas in Sri Lanka has now been prepared. These days I am studying its legal provisions”.
The minister said according to the information he had received, this is the first time that a national policy on such sensitive environmental zones has been formulated in Sri Lanka.
“ We have already identified several such environmentally sensitive areas. These include Gangawadiya and Eluwankulama in Puttalam District, Manewa in Anuradhapura District and Galnewa in Kurunegala district. In the implementation of development projects, such sensitive environmental areas may not be identified and may be unknowingly damaged. Living in such sensitive ecosystems, even endangered species of animals and plants can become extinct. We also plan to designate three sensitive marine ecological zones in line with this policy.The first is the ocean region from Mannar to Rameshwaram. We look forward to the support of the Government of India in designating this marine zone as a sensitive marine ecosystem. Other one is Trincomalee and Batticaloa Marine Zone and South sea zone from Galle to Hambantota as sensitive marine ecological zones. We will designate these three zones as sensitive ecological zones and take steps to conserve them” the Minister said.