Cabinet approves Rs.32 billion for ‘Surakimu Ganga’ conservation project | Daily News

Cabinet approves Rs.32 billion for ‘Surakimu Ganga’ conservation project

The Ministry of Environment has decided to launch a project called 'Surakimu Ganga' (Protect Rivers) to conserve the entire river system consisting of 103 rivers in Sri Lanka.

"Accordingly, the Cabinet Paper submitted by the Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera was approved by the Cabinet on November 3," the Environment Ministry said.

The objective of this is to take steps to conserve all river basins by preventing the pollution that is currently occurring in the river system which meets the overall water needs of the people of our country.

Eighty percent of the total river system in our country belongs to the dry zone. Of the 103 rivers, 16 are nearly 100 Kms in length.

It is currently estimated that the total flow of water from this entire river system to the sea exceeds 55,000 cubic metres every year.

The Mahaweli River Basin, the largest and longest river in our country, is 1/5 of the land area of Sri Lanka and covers an area of about 10,800 square kilometres.

The huge environmental pollution is currently taking place in connection with these rivers. It has been found that the Kelani River discharges industrial effluents as well as urinals and toilet effluents from factories, other institutions and public places, especially those associated with the Kelani River. Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said that the situation of other rivers in the suburbs is similar and that legal action will be taken against those who engage in such activities under the ‘Surakimu Ganga’ project.

If certain factories or other business establishments are to be built near the river, environmental reports should be obtained. However, more than 60 percent of the hotels, factories and other businesses that are currently being built do not have environmental reports and even some of the agencies that have obtained environmental reports have not complied with the recommendations.

The ‘Surakimu Ganga’ project is expected to cost around Rs.32 billion and will be one of the largest development projects being implemented under the present government, the Minister said.

The ‘Surakimu Ganga’ project is to be implemented under the full supervision of the Ministry of Environment and the Central Environmental Authority.

Commenting on this, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said that if all rivers could be made suitable for drinking water, it would be an overall success of this project.