Over 35 environmental cases pending – CEJ

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Over 35 cases filed by the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) against environment related offences are still pending, senior adviser to CEJ and Chair of Friends of the Earth International, Hemantha Withanage, said.

He said, CEJ has filed over 350 environmental cases over the past 18 years, adding that there has been an increase in the number of environmental issues, prompting the need to file cases. Withanage said although a case was filed against the Colombo Port by CEJ, the decision in this regard has not been communicated to CEJ, due to which an appeal was filed, while adding that there are over 35 cases pending due to various reasons.

He observed after the year 2000, environmental organisations have been heavily politicised and with the appointment of the incumbent Government environmental laws were weakened and deregulated, noting thereby that environmental governance has deteriorated.

Withanage said although there are strong environmental laws in the country, there are no proper enforcement mechanisms.

By Faadhila Thassim