Written by Pavani Hapuarachchi
11 May, 2021 | 11:19 am
COLOMBO (News 1st): The Cabinet of Ministers on Monday (May 10) granted approval to the combined proposal submitted by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to implement several measures to ensure the long term existence of the Muthurajawela wetland area, as well as its sustainable usage, the Department of Government Information, said on Tuesday (May 11)
Prime Minister Rajapaksa presented the proposal in his capacity as the Minister of Urban Development and Housing with the Ministers of Wildlife and Forest Conservation and Environment.
Thereby, cabinet approval has been granted for the following measures:
– Accelerated preparation of a master plan to suit the contemporary period for the conservation of the Muthurajawela wetland zone
– Appointment of a monitoring committee and a working committee comprised of the heads/representatives of the applicable stakeholder institutions.
– Acquisition of required government / private lands for implementation of an appropriate conservation methodology subject to the provisions of the Urban Development Act as per the Monitoring Committee recommendations.
– Entrusting the responsibility of taking necessary actions in regard to the sustainable usage of the ecosystem as a wetland / low land to Sri Lanka Land Development Cooperation
– The areas identified under the Master Plan as areas to be declared conserved as a National Reserve under the Fauna and Flora Ordinance.
– Taking necessary actions to declare the Muthurajawela wetland area as a Ramsar wetland by implementing the Master plan that is to be prepared by the Monitoring Committee.
The Master Plan prepared in 1991 jointly by the Central Environment Authority with Greater Colombo Economic Commission with the objective of protecting this wetland area has introduced 03 major land utilization patterns as the Conservation Zone, Induction zone and Mixed Urban Zone, noted the Government Information Department.
“Further to this, the Department of Wildlife and Forest Conservation has nominated a portion of 1,285.45 hectares of land as the Muthurajawela Reserve while the Central Environment Authority has nominated an area in extent of 162.1 hectares as an Environment Protection area,” read the cabinet decisions released on Tuesday (May 11).
This ecosystem is threatened by destruction due to reasons such as irregular landfilling, development of various infrastructure facilities for numerous purposes, encroachments, and disposal of garbage.
The wetland environmental system in the proximity of Muthurajawela spread in an area of approximately 6,232 hectares with the Negombo lagoon and a wetland / marshy land.
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