to meet Bush
Prime Minister Ranil
Wickremesinghe is expected to meet US President George W. Bush in
September. The Prime Minister is scheduled to visit the US on an
During the visit he is
expected to meet President Bush and Secretary of State, Colin Powell,
and will also attend the UN General Assembly sessions in New York.
of wetlands and marshy lands by the public has caused grave concern to
despite the government becoming a signatory to the Ramsar, Iran 1971
Convention on June 22 1990, which makes it obligatory to undertake
certain activities regarding wetland management in the country The
Sunday Leader learns the government has done little to preserve these
Municipal Councils (MC) and private parties use wetlands as garbage
dumping grounds, the public resorts to illegal methods of filing up such
land for commercial purposes, government sources said.
in order to address this growing concern, the government and top
environment officials met on Friday, June 21, at the National Symposium
on Wetland Management and Conservation in Sri Lanka
(NSWMC) to discuss how best these wetlands should be preserved.
to a report prepared by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), among the
most seriously threatened wetlands in Sri Lanka are the Thandamannar
lagoon, Chundikkulam lagoon, Chalai lagoon, Periyakarachchi and
Sinnakarachchi lagoons, the Mahaweli Ganga Floodplain system, Maha
Lewaya and Karagan Lewaya, Lunama and Kalametiya kalapuwa and the
Bellanwilla Attidiya marshes. However since 1989 no update of their
status has been carried out.
The Sunday Leader learns that a letter sent by Environment Minister
Rukman Senanayake to be addressed at the meeting raised issues on the
conservation of wetlands in Sri Lanka.
to the message by the Minister the Asian Wetland Directory has
identified nearly 40 wetland sites of international importance in Sri
Lanka of which the total extent is nearly 274,000 hectares.
to the Minister's information, many wetland eco systems in the country
are being indiscriminately exploited at an alarming rate due to
commercial, agricultural, residential and industrial development
purposes and dumping grounds for domestic waste.
according to the Minister's statement, due to the overlapping and
conflicting mandates in government agencies and also lack of cooperation
among these institutions, has made wetland management a difficult task.
However the government has taken measures to establish the first RAMSAR
site, namely the Bundala National Park.
the conclusion of the NSWMC steps were taken to update the National
Wetlands Directory and management plans made in an integrated manner
with the participation of all important stake holders.