Muthurajawela Lost 1,800 Hectares In 30 Years
By Thameenah Razeek
The most debated Muthurajawela wetlands have lost more than 1,800 hectares of land in a time span of 30 years.
The Wetlands was composed of 3,060 hectares in 1990 and has drastically declined to 1,200 hectares due to various occupations. This was revealed at the inter-ministerial coordination programme that was launched at the Ministry of Environment to address issues that arise from time to time in relation to the environment.
Speaking at the event, State Minister of Urban Development, Coast Conservation, Waste Disposal and Community Cleanliness Nalaka Godahewa said that Muthurajawela would be conserved into Ramsar Wetlands and handed over to the Ministry of Wildlife.
The discussions also focused on how to conserve the wetlands under the Urban Development Authority (UDA) and highlighted the inability of the Department of Wildlife Conservation or Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation to conserve the wetlands.
It was also revealed that neither the Department nor the Ministry is financially stable to handle payments for certain lands as they have to be acquired as soon as possible. Dr. Godahewa also said that his Ministry has both institutions with the technology and capability to conserve this ecosystem.
Despite the current situation of the Wetlands, a private company has acquired lands by erecting billboards and steps that will be taken to take over all the lands belonging to the Wetlands were also discussed. Commenting on this, Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera said that although the private company had planned to open shooting ranges, golf courses and hotels there, none would be allowed. “The company has caused a great danger to the Muthurajawela Wetlands and we are on the run to acquire the 700 acres that were lost,” he noted.
“Therefore, no new construction will be carried out in the Muthurajawela Wetlands and the Government will remain in the same stance where the Wetlands will be conserved as a Ramsar Wetlands,” he noted.