Dy Minister reveals measures taken to prepare national policy on mangroves

International waters conference:



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By Dasun Edirisinghe


For the first time in the country’s history, the government had adopted measures to prepare a national policy on managing mangrove ecosystems as it was highly useful for fish breeding and prevent erosion of both inland and coastal areas, Deputy Minister of Environment and Mahaweli Development Anuradha Jayaratne said yesterday.


Addressing the Eighth Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Biennial International Waters Conference in Colombo, representing President Maithripala Sirisena, Deputy Minister Jayaratne said Sri Lanka had more than 1,500 km of coastal belt, much of which was urbanised.


More than 30% of the 20 million people of Sri Lanka live on the coastal belt and hence the pressure on the resources was huge, he said.


Jayaratne said coastal and marine fisheries were a means of livelihood for the country which was highly dependent on the fish breeding ecosystems such as lagoons and mangrove forests.


Paying his gratitude to the organisers for selecting Sri Lanka as the venue to hold the waters conference this year, the Deputy Minister said lack of water resources and equitable distribution in a country would create burdensome issues for people as water was a critical element of socio- economic development.


Deputy Minister Jayaratne said: "Our history has enough examples of water management. Ancient water management in Sri Lanka ensured proper storage and distribution systems that made most dry areas of the country both habitable and cultivable."


He said the ancient storage system and ecosystems build around the tanks sustained the rural agrarian community in Sri Lanka even today.


"The lessons learnt from this exchange programme will help us evolve new and innovative solutions to challenges of managing both fresh water and marine environments as an island nation with ample fresh water and marine resources rich in biodiversity."


Nearly 300 delegates from all over the World participated in the five day conference. They also visited to witness special coastal environments in Galle and Mirissa as well as the Pinnawala elephant orphanage in addition to visiting the Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded women training programmes in the coastal areas in sustainable livelihood.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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