Below is a quick summary of our many campaigns and projects carried out in September 2019.
Conservation Success – Danaukanda Forest in Gampaha District
Having exposed and halted an illegal quarry operation in Danaukanda Forest situated in Weliweriya, Gampaha District in February, Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka worked with Ministry of Environment and Forest Conservation Department to gazette and declare 170 acres as a protected Forest Reserve which is now in-progress and moving forward.
Climate Action Mini Documentary
Several mini documentaries were produced this month as part of climate action and encouraging individuals to contribute towards the conservation initiatives. Below is one of the videos produced.
Protest against illegal cultivation and clearance of forest by oil palm companies
Joining together with a coalition of local environmental organizations and villagers who are severely affected we successfully held a protest in front of Arpico headquarters against their continued forest clearance and illegal cultivation of oil palm on September 18. Cultivation of oil palm was banned through a Cabinet Decision in October 2018, however, a few companies including Arpico has been engaged in continued forest clearance for oil palm including the 40 acres of rainforest destroyed in Wallalavita, Kalutara District which was reported by Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka Monthly Chronicle in July. The protest managed to get the general public educated on the issues and push enforcement authorities to take action.
Further meetings were held in Kegalle regarding environmental and social issues due to Oil Palm cultivation, companies that are engaged in secretly planting oil palm despite cabinet decision and future course of action.
Forest fire prevention and catchment area conservation in Badulla District
Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka worked with authorities in Badulla Provincial Council to discuss and formulate a mechanism to protect 2000 water sources and to find a solution to the ever increasing forest fires reported in the District.
Field visits with Government authorities to monitor the environmental and social impacts due to private Mini-Hydro projects in Deraniyagala and Kitulgala
Deraniyagala and Kitulgala are two regions with the highest bio-diversity and endemic species in Sri Lanka with either equal or even greater significance than Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest. The region contains riverine rainforests with point endemic species such as Kitulgala Saalaya which is not found anywhere else in the country or the rest of the world. Despite this significance as once of the most ecologically important regions, successive Governments have completely failed to protect these riverine ecosystems and instead have approved many destructive private mini-hydro projects that provide less than 0.05% energy to the national grid but have destroyed more than a 25% of the waterfalls in Sri Lanka and thousands of kilometers of rivers and streams. Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka together with the relevant authorities carried out several field visits in the region in September to observe the damage that has been done to both wildlife and villagers living in the area. Ironically, it is the Ministry of Environment that is pushing local government authorities to give approval to these destructive projects despite the numerous complaints and direct observations and we are continuously fighting against these corrupt officers working at the Ministry.
Successfully halted sand mining racket in Tukinhanwatta, Avissawella
Working with relevant authorities at Central Environmental Authority and Geological Survey and Mines Bureau, Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka successfully halted the sand mining racket in Tukinhanwatta, Avissawella that was initially reported by us in July. Tukinhanwatta in Amithirigala is a water catchment and it supplies water to meet the needs of the residents of a number of villages. However, the large scale sand mining in the area has severely impacted this area.
Conservation of Muthurajawela Wetland
Rainforest Proctectors of Sri Lanka is continuing its efforts to provide greater protection to Muthurajawela wetland and is currently working with authorities to survey the entire wetland with the aim of preventing encroachment.
Action against destruction of Hanthana Mountain Range Environmental Protected Area
We have been working with Hantana residents for the last few months to stop National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) illegally destroying the Hanthana Mountain Range Environmental Protected Area. Legal action to be taken due to the failure of government authorities to stop the illegal clearings despite protests by residents and environmental organizations.
Sri Lanka lacks laws to confront arsonists that destroy its forests
More than 200 acres of forest land were destroyed last month due to fires that erupted in the area surrounding the Ella Rock. While a suspect was arrested over a previous similar incident the suspects are simply released after being advised and no law has yet been enacted against any such perpetrators.
Rakwana Reforestation Project September 27 & 28, 2019
We are continuing Rakwana reforestation project to expand the planting area and purchased an additional 100 large plants of the endemic species Dipterocarpus Zeylanicus (Hora) for planting this weekend.
It is the responsibility of everyone and not just the environmentalists to take some responsibility towards stopping the ongoing massive destruction of our forests, rivers, streams, waterfalls and the pollution of air and water. Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka is a local environmental organization with support provided by only a few individuals. If you can help, please call 0777771348 or email RainforestProtectors@gmail.com
Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka