Air pollution threatens Kandy’s World Heritage status


By Ifham Nizam

The Sacred City of Kandy is likely to lose its World Heritage City status due to its air pollution levels that are higher than the national and World Health Organisation standards, claims an authority in the transport sector.

Head of the Engineering Faculty at the Moratuwa University Professor Amal Kumarage, who also heads the Department of Transport and Logistic Management, says the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation says the Sacred City might be stripped of its World Heritage status due to the increasing levels of toxic pollutants found there.

The Kandy City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage cultural site in 1988.

Speaking at a workshop under the theme, ‘Air Quality and Environmentally Sustainable Transport’, at the Central Environment Authority in Battaramulla, on Thursday, he said 110,000 people lived in the Kandy city, and 10,000 vehicles entered it daily.

Professor Kumarage, who is also a former Chairman of the National Transport Commission, says his studies indicate there are 63,500 students in 39 schools in Kandy. There are 2,300 school vans operating within the city and only three per cent of the school going children use public transport.

The Air Resource Management Centre (AirMac)of the Environment Ministry says that the level of dangerous chemicals emitted in the Kandy city is higher than in any other place in Sri Lanka due to its geographical location.

The workshop was organised by the Ministry Environment, Ministry of Transport and New Delhi based Centre for Science and Environment.

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