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WNPS and DWC partner with Abans to combat deforestation


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Being one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, Sri Lanka possesses a large proportion of endemic species and dense forests. One of the country’s most significant wildlife habitats is the Attidiya-Bellanwila region, which is home to unique plant and animal species. Yet, this region is at the threat of degradation and extinction due to increased urbanisation, poaching and deforestation. 

So, the Wildlife Nature and Protection Society, the third oldest environmental organisation of its kind in the world that was instrumental in setting up the first national parks in Sri Lanka, has partnered with LG and Abans to promote a cause fundamental to the survival of the natural world, and of the human species – the mass scale planting of trees. 

The other partner, and of extreme importance, is the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC), the statutory guardian of wildlife and of the protected areas they inhabit. The DWC has custody of 12% of the land mass of Sri Lanka, and it has a vital role to play in preserving the natural heritage of this country for future generations to enjoy, and survive in.

The project

The Green Isle Project was launched on 7 August, at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, Attidiya. The project will focus on combating habitat loss, which has been identified as a major threat towards the continued survival of Sri Lanka’s unique position as a biodiversity hotspot. Additionally, the project will raise awareness of the importance of sustaining the delicate balance of the Sri Lankan ecosystem; a necessity not only for the continued existence of our country’s wildlife but also, as stated above, that of the local human population. 

Over 200 environmental activists, educators and students took part in planting more than 1,000 trees in the Attidiya-Bellanwila Sanctuary. They were aided by Abans’ own 50-member environment volunteer taskforce. University of Colombo Professor Dr. Iroja Caldera also conducted a seminar for students on the significant role that the Green Isle Project will play in alleviating several of Sri Lanka’s key environmental issues.

Proposed actions for this project will include habitat enrichment via a massive tree replanting scheme of over 30, 000 trees, enabling the gradual replacement of invasive plant species, the revitalisation of small canals, as well as the clearing out of weeds and other debris. A 3.5 km Nature Trail will also be developed to enable wildlife enthusiasts, researchers, educators, and school children to observe and study Attidiya’s native species from a safe distance. 

The corporate champions

The day-long launch was held under the auspices of LG Electronics Dignitaries including Product Director Terry Kim, Sol Lee, and Brian Kwak. Abans’ Senior Management such as Group Chief Executive Officer Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Deputy Director Buddhika Dharmawardena, and Head of Home Appliance Products Ruwan Gunasekara attended the occasion. WNPS Dignitary Professor Lakdas Fernando and Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism Development, Wildlife, and Christian Religious Affairs Siri Hettiarachchi were also in attendance.

LG is a multi-national home appliances and electronics brand, and Abans, one of Sri Lanka’s leading retail brands. This joint CSR initiative represents LG’s latest efforts to endorse sustainability and environmental responsibility in Sri Lanka. 

The initiative will be co-sponsored by LG R32 Air Conditioners, which are uniquely designed to respond to the challenges posed by climate change. LG R32 Air Conditioners offer one-of-a-kind benefits for a customer’s home, while contributing to the preservation of Earth’s natural environment. The most standout feature of these air conditioners is the R32 refrigerant, the world’s latest green refrigerant that reduces the customer’s carbon footprint and emits absolutely no ozone-depleting substances into Earth’s atmosphere. 

A cultural icon and pioneering super brand, Abans Group is a locally and globally reputed conglomerate that specialises in several strategic business sectors including retail, services, logistics, manufacturing, real estate and infrastructure. Possessing an extensive retail network and a significant presence in several industries, Abans is an inspiring story of Sri Lankan exceptionalism, innovation, creativity and perseverance that continues to evolve throughout the ensuing generations. 

Corporate entities are usually expected to consider, evaluate and mitigate the significant environmental impact of their operations. So, it is encouraging to see two leading corporate entities taking steps to try and reverse this degradation and, in so doing, not only ‘green’ the land again, but also give space for new learning and the encouragement of the aesthetic appreciation of the natural world. With the guidance of the DWC and WNPS, this project bodes well for the future of this special wetland – the Attidiya-Bellanwila Marshes – and for the environmental integrity of Sri Lanka.

 


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