The Minister of Agriculture, Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation, Mr. Mahinda Amaraweera said that the Cabinet of Ministers has approved the designation of the area including the Sambalathiv lagoon in Trincomalee district as a forest conservation zone.
A discussion was held yesterday (22) at the Ministry of Wildlife and Forestry on how to designate the Sambalathiv Nayaru and Nandikadal lagoons as forest conservation zones and how to clean the lagoons which are currently full of various wastes. Mr. Douglas Devananda, Minister of Fisheries Affairs, Mr. Kader Mastan, Minister of State for Rural Economy and Mr. Chandra Herath, Secretary of the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation, Mr. Indu Ratnayake, Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries participated in this event.
Minister Mahinda Amaraweera advised the Director General of Wildlife to speed up the work as the cabinet has already received the approval to designate the Sambalativu lagoon as a forest conservation zone.
Also, it was emphasized that Nayaru and Nandikadal lagoons are polluted due to various human activities, and many mangroves and lagoon-related organisms are under threat of extinction due to the filling of lagoons due to the disposal of various wastes. Also, it was revealed in this discussion that there is a program of reclaiming some people's lagoons.
Therefore, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera decided to appoint a special committee to study the facts to protect the two lagoons. The committee is chaired by Mr. Chandra Herath, Secretary of the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation, Mr. Indu Ratnayake, Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries, and representatives of the Department of Wildlife, Ministry of Agriculture and National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) also belong to this committee. The minister informed to give a report in this regard within 02 weeks.
The Minister of Agriculture, who expressed his opinion, stated that most of the lagoons in Sri Lanka have been illegally reclaimed in the Eastern Province. He mentioned that although he was working as the Minister of Environment and took various measures in this regard, some people are reclamation of lagoons with the support of other parties. Therefore, by naming these lagoons as forest conservation zones, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera mentioned that the existing legal conditions to protect them will also be strengthened.