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Garbage dumping racket at over 35 locations inside forest reserves

Mar 17, 2018 2:47:37 PM - thesundayleader.lk

By Ashanthi Warunasuriya

 

A racket to dump garbage at over 35 locations inside forest reserves has been uncovered.

Wild elephants and many other animals die of garbage poisoning that they consume daily around the island. Besides elephants, cattle, land monitor (thalagoya), deer, and other animals are also killed from consuming garbage.

Wildlife and Sustainable Development Minister, Ravindra Samaraweera told The Sunday Leader that one of the locations found where garbage is being dumped is the Yala National Park.

As was reported in The Sunday Leader last week, the Tissamaharama Pradeshiya Sabha was found to be dumping garbage at one location in the park.

Minister Samaraweera said that a discussion was held with the Tissamaharama Pradeshiya Sabha where they were instructed to stop dumping garbage inside the park.

The Minister said that he has also instructed the relevant officials to report to him the locations where garbage stocks were dumped.

Herds of deer have been roaming at the Dutch Fort in Trincomalee since the era of the Dutch. However, there is a clear drop in their population numbers.

The deer are known to consume garbage mixed with polythene and what they eat poisons their digestive systems. Post mortem examinations carried out on the carcass of the deer found that the animals died of consuming polythene.

Small animals die of polythene getting stuck in their intestines and bowels while large animals such as elephants die of their systems being poisoned as a result of polythene. They suffer from indigestion, constipation and many other deceases just like humans do when they consume poisonous food items.

Pradeshiya Sabhas do not recycle garbage systematically. Dambulla, Panadura and many other areas underwent severe garbage issues in the recent past. When the garbage stocks were dumped near the fences built to get people protected from wild elephants, the wild jumbos rampaged through fences and consumed the garbage dumped near the fences. Even though erecting electric fences can resolve elephant-human conflict to some extent, the general public and farmers too do not like erecting fences against wild elephants due to many reasons.

Polythene cannot be taken into the Dehiwela Zoo. The same ban can be enforced in national parks as well. However, provincial institutions must carry out their duties properly for people to adhere to the ban. Like institutions, relevant officials too neglect their responsibilities. Are we not footing towards annihilation dragging with us the wildlife, environment and the nature as a whole?

To stop the impending annihilation, everyone should dispose of their garbage in a way that does not harm environment. We must protect environment, animals and every single part of the nature since it protects us. We have to play our role properly in this regard too, since ministerial chairs rarely do good for the country.

We also have to extend our hands towards those living in the areas wreaked havoc by such issues and suffering untold immense troubles, to lift their living standards.

We have been talking about the human-elephant conflict since our childhood. The conflict in Dehiattakandiya has been festering for over 35 years. The Sunday Leader had reported on issues of wildlife and related corruption cases nonstop. But we did not see any solutions provided by the authorities for these issues to date. People in those areas live under life threats even today. Still, resolutions are not found for the human-elephant conflict and related issues.

Wildlife and Sustainable Development Minister Raveendra Samaraweera assumed duties at his ministry at the beginning of this month. His appointment to the ministry was criticized by many saying that he is new to the subject. Nevertheless, those who do not talk loud carry out their duties very well. The Minister may be one of them. Only time will tell.