The Sunday Leader

Illegal garbage dumping continues at Yala

By Ashanthi Warunasuriya


The illegal dumping of garbage is continuing at the Yala Wildlife Sanctuary in a well planned, organised manner.

Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife Ravindra Samaraweera told The Sunday Leader an investigation is underway to identify who is behind the dumping of garbage in the Yala Wildlife Sanctuary.

He said that it is clear there is a clandestine operation to dump garbage in Yala.

It had come to light that garbage collected from Tissamaharama were being dumped at the park using garbage trucks belonging to the Tissamaharama Pradeshiya Sabha.

The ‘Adaderana’ television station had last week shown visuals of elephants and other animals consuming the garbage dumped in the park.

Meanwhile, Minister Ravindra Samaraweera said that several other issues related to the Yala Wildlife Sanctuary are also been looked into.

Among the issues are concerns over the lack of proper facilities for the large number of tourists who visit the park.

The wildlife park has been facing several issues in the recent past, including an issue of over-visitation at the park.

The Yala wildlife sanctuary was closed for around two months from September 1st until October 23 last year due to the drought and to allow the animals and the forest a bit of a respite from human intrusion.

In January, the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) handed over a detailed report to the Government that sets out how the issue of over-visitation of Yala can be optimally managed to protect interests of all stakeholders.

The report ascertained how the national park impacts various stakeholders and analyzes economic and environmental benefits that accrue to these stakeholders. It proposed an equitable balance based on established sustainable development principles and guidelines.

It was noted that curtailing the entry of vehicles to the Yala National Park to minimise the impact of tourists on the environment deprives many local stakeholders of their livelihoods, but short periods of increased visitation will do no major harm to the environment and wild life, provided wild life viewing is done in a strict and responsible manner following the park rules.

The report notes that while Yala National Park is a valuable national asset and should be nurtured for future generations, at the same time, the park supports a great many people and their livelihoods.

SLAITO sought to explore solutions that preserve the park while sustaining the industry. A new token system in place, which involves the physical purchase of tickets from the park by queuing up in the early hours of the morning, is in place. SLAITO discussed this matter at length with the ministers and the representatives of the DWC who were extremely corporative and are now in a dialogue with SLAITO to resolve this matter.

Apart from the proposals in the report, SLAITO believes in training the drivers on how to sustain the park, which is their only livelihood. It is also recommended that appropriate penalties and suspensions of drivers who do not abide by the park rules are enforced.

SLAITO called for a joint consensus with all stakeholders when finding resolutions to issues and has always worked in harmony with the public sector in ensuring sustainable growth in the industry.

2 Comments for “Illegal garbage dumping continues at Yala”

  1. Cobra

    This is what happens when ‘garbage’ visit our pristine wild life sanctuaries. Their house may be garbage dumps for all we know. They should be treated as poachers and punished accordingly!!!

  2. Bijja

    how many roads lead to this garbage area. If you guys can’t catch the guys dumping the garbage then god help Sri Lanka in catching any other crooks. You guys will be running out of paper to write the info from all these investigations.

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