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    Sri Lanka committed to environment conservation Featured

    June 03, 2019

    President Maithripala Sirisena gave instructions this week to cancel the licenses of timber mill owners in possession of illegal timber Addressing environmental officials, the President focused on Forest Conservation and Tree Planting programs in keeping with the World Environment Day which falls on June 5, 2019. He also ordered that unutilised lands belonging to the Land Reformation Commission and the Sri Lanka Cashew Cooperation to be used in a program to increase the country’s forest density by 32% by 2030.
    The United Nations Environment Program has designated ‘Air pollution’ as the global theme for World Environment Day 2019. This is a United Nations initiative held annually on June 5. The key global day promotes environmental awareness and sustainability and has highlighted important global issues since its origins in 1974 – including climate change, marine pollution and crimes against wildlife. It has been a social platform for every individual, government as well as celebrities to create public awareness for the betterment of the environment.

    Each environment day is organised around a specific theme that focuses on a particular environmental issue in the environment. The theme for the World Environment Day 2018 was ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’. This theme invited us to consider how we can reduce plastic pollution of the environment which damages our wildlife and our own health. World’s Environment Day 2019 with its theme of ‘Air pollution’ will be hosted by China. Air pollution is a matter of grave concern as this polluted air is what we breathe . In the contemporary world, floods, earthquakes, ozone depletion, air pollution, global warming and several other environmental issues have become major threats to human existence. The time has now come to rectify past mistakes and it is a very responsible task. The existence of humankind in the future would rely upon how they, irrespective of their differences, contribute to the task of protecting the environment.
    Recently, President Maithripala Sirisena submitted several proposals to the United Nations Environment Assembly for protecting the environment. At the Assembly, President Sirisena said that human activities should not threaten the regeneration capacity of nature and it is the sole responsibility of mankind to implement activities which will strengthen the regenerative capacity of nature.
    Delivering the keynote address at the Third Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific, in Singapore on January 25 2019, President Sirisena said that being a follower of the Buddhist philosophy, he firmly believes that we are responsible for securing the sustenance of, not only mankind, but also life on earth as a whole. “It is our prime duty to assure the right to live in a safe environment and introduce environmentally sound economic trends that build upon sustainable global economic indices. Therefore, it is important to strengthen our regional cooperation in order to fulfill all environmental responsibilities and our obligations”, he said.
    He also proposed to establish a system which encourages member countries to successfully achieve the expected commitments under environmental conventions. A strong funding mechanism to assist countries like Sri Lanka, which are severely affected by adverse impacts of climate change, has to be established for achieving sustainable development goals. The President also emphasised the need for the support of developed countries and cooperation among the regional countries in order to strengthen the sustainable industries to reap the benefits of blue green economies.
    The President called on regional countries to stand together to protect the eco-systems, especially wetlands from chemical pollutants. Sri Lanka is always committed to play our role for global environment conservation. Championing mangrove conservation in the Commonwealth Blue Charter, is a promising effort in this regard. As a way forward, and to implement a comprehensive program on a global scale, Sri Lanka has proposed a resolution on mangrove conservation for the Fourth Session of the UN Environment Assembly, he said.
    He pointed out that despite all the challenges of adverse impacts of climate change, Sri Lanka has commissioned the Moragahakanda and Kaluganga multipurpose water resources projects as one of the largest recent green investments. This was introduced to combat the adverse effects of climate change. Essentially, if the responsibilities for the earth and the environment are not properly fulfilled the country will face a tragic situation in the future. So, it is a prime responsibility of everyone to be committed to environmental conservation.

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