Written by Zulfick Farzan
29 Mar, 2021 | 5:09 pm
Colombo (News 1st); The Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) decided to appoint a Joint Committee for the conservation of the Muthurajawela Wetlands.
This Joint Committee will comprise all the relevant stakeholders responsible for the conservation of wetlands.
The decision was made when the Committee on Public Accounts, led by Professor Tissa Vithanara, met in Parliament recently.
The Joint Committee will meet during the next two weeks under the auspices of Environment Secretary Dr. Anil Jasinghe to discuss plans for the conservation of the Muthurajawela Wetlands.
Although Muthurajawela was gazetted as a sanctuary by Gazette Notification No. 947/13 of 1996, the Committee had pointed out that boundaries of the sanctuary have not been demarcated thus far.
In addition, the committee highlighted that only 1285 hectares of Muthurajawela were classified as a sanctuary even though the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) had identified 2569 hectares as an ecosystem.
The Committee also noted the failure of the relevant agencies to properly identify the total extent of lands in the Muthurajawela ecosystem exceeding 6000 hectares and the extent of private lands and government lands within the sanctuary.
Although a number of complaints were received by government institutes such as Sri Lanka Land Development Corporation, the Central Environmental Authority, the Urban Development Authority, and the Agrarian Services Department regarding the illegal filling of lands belonging to the Muthurajawela Ecological Zone, COPA was concerned over the failure in taking proper action with regard to the complaints.
Further, COPA had highlighted the need to prevent the commercialization of endemic plant species and to further enhance the necessary legislation for such efforts.
In addition, COPA pointed out the importance of establishing a Special Coordinating Agency to prevent gene theft/
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