Environment is destroyed amidst COVID pandemic – Minister Amaraweera | Daily News

Environment is destroyed amidst COVID pandemic – Minister Amaraweera

The COVID-19 pandemic has been exploited by certain people to destroy the environment, Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said.

He said that many incidents of environmental damage have been reported during the period.

“The highest level of environmental damage was recorded during the pandemic. The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) and the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) should look into the matter closely,” he said.

The Minister was presenting an action plan for 2021 at the Ministry on Monday (4).

The ten-point plan including Surakimu Ganga (Let’s protect rivers), Husma Dena Thuru (Trees Breathe Life) Mihi Mawata Kan Demu (Let’s listen to Mother Earth), and Waste Management among others is for the protection and promotion of the environment under the theme 'Evergreen Tomorrow'.

The Minister presented the plan to Ministry Secretary Dr. Anil Jasinghe to implement it immediately.

The Minister said that the media is far ahead of the officials.

“Permits must not be issued for sand mining in coconut lands. These lands are destroyed today excavating sand and soil. I saw a TV channel showing a coconut land destruction near Pottuvil. The villagers stood up against the destruction. The public should be commended for standing up against the authorities in this regard,” he said.

“About 30 large trees have been felled in the Kurunegala Rajapihilla Park. Instructions were issued to look into whether CEA or district officials approved it and submit a report,” he said.

“We have to tell the truth.The country's economy in a difficult situation. The COVID has exacerbated the situation. The only thing that needs to be done to get out of this situation is to work together towards the same goal,” he said.

Ministry Secretary Dr. Anil Jasinghe said that the COVID virus will be among us for several more years. “Meanwhile, the work of the country cannot be stopped. If that happens, every sector of the country will collapse. COVID is not a serious disease, but for some high-risk groups, the disease can cause complications. Therefore, the health sector’s scientific advice should be followed to prevent the disease. Some people seem to be making the pandemic a reason not to work. The Government has made it clear how to live and work with the virus. We must act accordingly,” he said.