Submitted by » Dilanthe Withanage
Date of Submission » Sep 1, 2011 1:11 PM
Towards a greener Sri Lanka
Several environment friendly approaches were initiated under the guidance of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to ensure the vision presented in the Mahinda Chinthana Policy regarding environment A Land in accord with the Nature.
home is an island in the tropics known for its natural beauty,
to an ancient civilization that co-existed in harmony with nature and the habitat of a large number of wild elephants in Asia. Ancients referred to it as the most precious island jewel. In Mahinda Chintana,I quoted a thought of an ancient ruler of Sri Lanka, This earth and its vegetation is yours but they must be protected not only for your benefit but also for the benefit of future generations. A ruler is only a temporary trustee and not an owner of your childrens heritage."
With the aim of providing leadership to manage the environment in order to ensure national commitment for sustainable development for the benefit of the present and future generations, the Environment Ministry on the directive of President has come forward during past few years to create a healthy and pleasant environment.
Following the Mahinda Chithana policy Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, and his predecessor to hold the responsibilities of this Ministry and current Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka implemented a number of large scale projects to ensure greener and clean country.
One of the visions expressed in the Mahinda Chithana is “management of the output of all waste products and their disposal in a manner that will cause minimum adverse impact on the environment”.
In harmony with the above vision an Electronic Waste Management Project was launched by the CEA together with 14 business organizations in home electronics, information technology and telecommunications industries to ensure an E-waste free environment in Sri Lanka.
Deyata Sevana program
Minister Yapa implementing the Pilisaru program
Green Lanka seminar
This program is an environment relief program where people can handover their unwanted electronic appliances to any of the 14 partner organizations without stocking them at home. The islandwide network of already existing branches of these partner organizations will act as collecting centers.
In accordance with the Mahinda Chithana concept of minimizing the urban waste, Pilisaru Waste Management Project was initiated in 2008 to establish an Integrated Solid Waste Management program in the country.
The goal of the Pilisaru Project is to create a “Garbage free Sri Lanka by 2012 by addressing the obstacles faced by Local Authorities in the matter of solid waste disposal.
Under this program steps have been taken to facilitate mobilization of financial resources to local authorities for solid waste management activities and to provide technical guidance through the Central Environmental Authority (CEA).
Under Deyata Sewana National Tree Planting Campaign over 1.1million saplings were planted throughout the island within eleven minutes as a tribute to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on November 15, 2010. As estimated about 60 tons of Carbon Dioxide will be absorbed per day while releasing 66 tons of Oxygen gas to the air when these plants grew up.
This will also pave the way for the country to earn a considerable amount of income through carbon trade which takes into account only the newly planted trees.
The Environment Minister hopes to continue this campaign annually on the same day.
The potential of carbon market for Sri Lanka is very promising and it is estimated that the country could earn up to about Rs 5,000 million by trading about 2.5 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide at the rate of USD 20 per credit. The Sri Lanka Carbon Fund was established to promote the Clean Development Mechanism in Sri Lanka in 2008.
The mechanism stimulates sustainable development and emission reductions, while giving industrialized countries some flexibility in how they meet their emission reduction or limitation targets.
Ensuring environmental sustainability of all development programs is of paramount importance to achieve sustainable development targets of a country.
In this context, Green Lanka Program was initiated and a National Action Plan was developed covering ten broad thrust areas namely, “Clean Air Everywhere, Saving the Fauna, Flora and Ecosystems, Meeting the Challenges of Climate Change, Wise use of the land resources, responsible use of the land resources, doing away with the dumps, water for all and always, Green Cities for health and prosperity and greening the industries, knowledge for right choices”.
The Action plan includes short-term, medium-term and long-term targets spanning from 2009 to 2016, with comprehensive achievable and measurable 82 strategies and 375 actions.
Strengthening of Environment Legislation to suit the current situation was an important step taken to overcome the legal barriers faced in enforcement.
The main objective of the revision of environment legislation was to improve the effectiveness of environment protection activities of the institutions functioning under the Ministry.
Amendment of the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance, enacting of a new Act for the Marine Environment Protection Authority, revision of the Forest Ordinance, Mines and Minerals Act and the National Environment Act are commendable initiatives of the Ministry. Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa has also payed attention for the revision of outdated environment laws and regulations in the country to suit the modern requirements.
With the implementation of Gaja Mithuro program a significance reduction of deaths of elephants and humans caused by human-elephant conflict could be witnessed. Building human-elephant coexistence was the aim of this program. Electric fences were constructed under it to control wild elephant invasion of human settlements and cultivations.
In order to control the air pollution caused by fuel emissions from vehicles, the Vehicle Emission Testing Program was launched in 2008. It was developed based on the ‘polluter pays’ principle to cover the cost of pollution.
As at today, it is implemented in all Provinces except in the North and the East. It was reported that the dust particles in Colombo was decreased significantly, and this program can be attributed for this positive result.
Introduction of Sustainable Human Index is a landmark of the country during recent past.
It was launched during the SAARC Summit held in August 2008 in Sri Lanka.
It was introduced as an international measure of development, to assess the real nature and extent of the human development process and the sustainability of such developed. It is observed that Sri Lanka is above the USA in terms of sustainability, mainly due to low carbon emissions and a low ecological index.
Establishment of the Secretariat on Climate Change is another achievement.
This Secretariat was established to reach the objectives of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. National Advisory Committee on Climate Change was also established to guide and facilitate the sectoral functions.
Haritha Niyamu Program is implemented by the CEA through the school system in the country to create an environment friendly future generation. Under this program, awareness programs were conducted to educate school children, teachers and the general public.
The Green Cities (Piyakaru Purawara) program is initiated with the objective to help local authorities to maintain a pleasant environment in the cities so that the people living in such localities can lead a healthy life.