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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Muthurajawela Wetland Zone to be declared a National Reserve

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Cabinet approval has been granted to take a number of measures to ensure the long-term existence of the Muthurajawela wetland area as well as its sustainable usage, Co-Cabinet Spokesman Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila said.

He was speaking at a media conference held yesterday at the Government Information Department to inform the decisions taken at this week’s Cabinet meeting.

Minister Gammanpila said that the joint proposal in this regard was made by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as Urban Development and Housing Minister and the Ministers of Wildlife and Forest Conservation and Environment at the Cabinet meeting held on Monday. The wetland environmental system in the proximity of Muthurajawela spread in an area of approximately 6,232 hectares with the Negombo lagoon and a wetland and marshy land, is delivering tremendous support in maintaining the socio-economic well-being of the urban population securing the environmental stability of the area.

The Master Plan prepared in 1991 jointly by the Central Environment Authority with Greater Colombo Economic Commission with the objective of protecting this wetland area has introduced three major land utilisation patterns as the conservation zone, induction zone, and mixed urban zone.

Further to this, the Department of Wildlife and Forest Conservation has nominated a portion of 1,285.45 hectares of land as Muthurajawela Reserve while the Central Environment Authority has nominated an area in extent of 162.1 hectares as an environmental protection area. However, this ecosystem is threatened by destruction due to reasons such as irregular landfilling, development of various infrastructure facilities for numerous purposes, encroachments, and disposal of garbage. Therefore, the Cabinet of Ministers granted to take the following measures to ensure the long-term existence of the Muthurajawela wetland area as well as its sustainable usage.

1. Accelerated preparation of a master plan to suit the contemporary period for the conservation of Muthurajawela Wetland Zone.

2.Appointment of a monitoring committee and a working committee comprised of the heads or representatives of the applicable stakeholder institutions.

3.Acquisition of required government and private lands for implementation of an appropriate conservation methodology subject to the provisions of the Urban Development Act as per the Monitoring Committee recommendations.

4.Entrusting the responsibility of taking necessary actions in regard to the sustainable usage of the ecosystem as a wetland and low land to Sri Lanka Land Development Corporation.

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