CCD beach nourishment a failure - activists
By Ranmini Gunasekara
Environmental activists alleged that the Mount Lavinia beach nourishment project initiated by the Coast Conservation Department (CCD) was a failure.
They cited pictures circulating on social media which depict the newly nourished beach (nourished with sand) eroded, with water entering in and forming a swamp-like pool, in the once rocky beach, as evidence for their claims.
Speaking to Ceylon Today, Coordinator of the Pearl Protectors organisation, Muditha Katuwawela, claimed that the project was a failure and had been initiated by the CCD sans any prior planning. "This is what happens when you don't have a plan.
They haven't even done the necessary Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) either. If you see the pictures of the beach now, it can clearly be seen that the height of the beach is too much. They haven't really done anything to create the natural slope of the beach.
So, there is water coming into the beach from inland canals and this water is now getting stuck in the beach and not flowing into the ocean, thus creating a swampy sort of area. So, the natural aesthetic of that beach has been completely ruined."
He further claimed that the CCD has now, in a desperate bid to resolve the issue, dug canals around the beach area.
Meanwhile, CCD Director General (DG), Prabath Chandrakeerthi claimed that the project was a success, and added that the swamp-like area was merely created on the beach due to certain sea outfalls coming from inland.
"We have not removed any of the natural rocks at the beach. We have merely done the sand nourishment over the rocks, and after some time, the rocks will reappear. We saw no need to do an EIA, since we are merely repairing eroded areas of the beach. We, however, conducted an environmental study on the area where we dredged the sand from."
He further added that the project commenced on 29 February. If the project was kept on hold, the CCD would have had to compensate the contractors, he further claimed.
However, when queried as to whether the Marine Environment Protection Authority had been informed regarding the project by the CCD, the Authority's DG, Dr. Terney Pradeep Kumara claimed that the matter had not been brought to his attention by the CCD, but that he had learnt of it post-fact via information circulated in the Media.
"We weren't clearly informed about this. But I think the CCD should have taken the environmental and biological aspects into consideration prior to going ahead with this."