Environmental Act not implemented in the NWP

Environmental officers attached to the Central Environmental Authority (CEA), claim that the National Environmental Act was not being implemented in the North Western Province. As a result, there were massive environmental malpractices harmful to the environment taking place under the patronage of NW Provincial Council politicians, they said.

President of the Divisional Environmental Officers’ Association of the CEA, Asanga Dharmadasa told The Island that the CEA was established under the National Environmental Act No. 47 of 1980. But, within the North Western Province, the CEA could not enforce the Act. They were working under a Provincial Environmental Ordinance.

"The Provincial Environmental Ordinance, which came into effect in 1990, was introduced under the Provincial Councils. But, such an Ordinance was passed only in the North Western Provincial Council. However, there were Divisional Environmental officers of the CEA working in the provinces and they were removed from the province recently and attached to Central and North Central Provinces.

If the Ordinance was introduced in other provincial councils in the country, the government would have to close down the CEA," Dharmadasa said.

He said that the the National Environmental Authority (NEA), banned the production, use and sale of polythene under 20 microns. But, it was not being implemented in the North Western Province.

Another classic example was, people from other provinces take huge loads of garbage and dump them in the North Western Province because garbage restriction under the CEA was not operational there. The Provincial authorities were turning a blind eye to these acts.

Dharmadasa also said that the School Environmental Brigades were very important for protecting the environment. It was handled by the CEA, but was not functioning in the North Western Province.

Director General of the CEA Pasan Gunasena, when contacted by The Island for comments, said that they could not implement the CEA because there was an Environmental Ordinance implemented by the Provincial Council. It was nothing new thing and it came into effect from 1990. "However, we are conducting an awareness programme in the North Western Province like in other provinces, he said.

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