Kelani River conservation zone to be set up
BY THAMEENAH RAZEEK
Following the finding of several pollutant sources that pollute the Kelani River, the Ministry of Environment has decided to set up a special conservation zone from the Seethawaka River to Peliyagoda. Every month, 40 specific areas along the Kelani River will be monitored, and legal action will be taken against wrongdoers.
Furthermore, safeguards have been implemented across the river’s seven tributaries to limit the flow of polythene and plastic into the river. Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera took these steps during a meeting with all of the island’s District Secretaries. Thus, the Minister has set aside Rs19 million this year for the construction of permanent toilets for people living beyond the conservation zone along the Kelani River who do not have access to them.
The Minister also directed that the Kelani River reserve be designated as soon as possible, and that the Measuring Water Quantity Project, which studies water quality in the Kelani River, be launched as soon as possible, with the Central Environmental Authority delivering the required reports. “This year, funds have been set aside to implement two major projects in the areas of Seethawaka Wakoya and Gampaha Pahuru Oya.
Both of these rivers are major tributaries to the Kelani River. This year, Rs 5.2 million has been set aside for Seethawaka Wakoya, and Rs 8.7 million has been set aside for Pahuru Oya. A total of Rs2.6 million has been set aside for the construction of the Pugoda Ela, which connects to the Kelani River,” he said.
The Minister also informed the District Secretaries of Gampaha and Colombo that, following the demarcation of the Kelani River Reserve, the reserve’s residents will be evicted, after the establishment of a housing programme for them. He also informed the District Secretaries that more projects for Kelani River protection should be launched because the Surakimu Ganga programme will be implemented in the coming years.