2018 Jun 5
Sri Lanka is a country incredibly susceptible to climate change. Floods, droughts and various other weather conditions have become more frequent over the years. Purely from a science perspective, one would understand the connections between such climate changes and the underlying things we do- each day- that enforce environmental pollution.
Deforestation- we cut down our own trees and mourn the consequences. We simply have too many sources of knowledge available to us to claim ignorance to this problem. Electricity, various forms of transport and many other industries are contributing to the infamous buildup of greenhouse gases and we’re cutting down more of our trees (the most efficient greenhouse gas filter nature could ever provide) each year. To clarify, this buildup of greenhouse gas can severely affect our health, our food and finances.
Between 1990 and 2010 alone, Sri Lanka has lost a whopping 29.9 % of its forest cover, at an average of 24500 ha per year. Deforestation can lead to soil erosion, floods/droughts, a buildup of greenhouse gas emissions and loss of natural beauty and biodiversity. Sri Lanka is a country that prides itself on its natural beauty and culture, yet what is being done to conserve this beauty? The floods that take the lives of our fellow Sri Lankans and further have economic impacts can legitimately be traced back to deforestation, amongst other things. Do we make our name as a mediocre developing country that simply can’t clean up after themselves and look after what’s theirs? Or are we the tropical paradise that supports biodiversity, unity and natural beauty?
Sri Lanka is one of the 195 states part of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The Agreement gave the states freedom to reduce environmental pollution as they saw fit – the aim wasn’t to confine the parties to one idea but to let each form their own and contribute in their own ways to tackle this vast issue. Is Sri Lanka really doing the best that it can? There are many accusations being raised against political figures to understand Sri Lanka’s true place in a greener future.
A protest organized by the Protect Sri Lanka Movement is happening today at the Viharamahadevi Park Amphitheater in support of World Environment Day. Endorsed by a number of environmentalist groups, including the OTARA Foundation and “Protect Wilpattu”, the aim of the protest is to address concerns regarding the alleged illicit land allocations amounting to a depressing 60000 acres in the central mountain regions. The accusations have been levelled against those having powerful positions in the administration. Similar instances can be traced back years and this movement wants to ensure such illicit transactions cannot be kept under wraps.
The protest also wants to address the felling of trees in Wilpattu National Park and forest clearance of lands protected by the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment. While Minister Rishad Bathiudeen has since gone on record to claim all these actions were based on resettlement programs, it does not make the actions any less morally wrong.
This movement needs all the support it can get to make a greener, more sustainable future for Sri Lanka more likely. Go show some support and spread it amongst your friends if you’re interested in helping the citizens of our country go down the right path.
Being World Environment Day, today can be the day where you recognize Sri Lanka’s potential. We have many ways to go regarding sustainable energy and transport but we can all address this issue in simpler steps.
How can you help?
We always have a choice- and the choice should primarily reflect upon our need for a greener future. Choose the more sustainable route.
Get into recycling- and never litter. Sri Lanka making the top ten list of countries of severe marine pollution proves that handling of plastics is very much another issue to be addressed. The Central Environment Authority (CEA) has taken measures to regulate polythene and plastic waste disposal and we should meet them halfway. Better yet, scrap plastics!
Finally, speak out. Illicit transactions are often swept under the rug and it often feels as though doing anything never gets you anywhere. But we have a duty to try. Make some noise so that this issue won’t just be another one hidden away as the years go by. We can do more.