Cabinet nod to declare Muthurajawela wetland as National Reserve and prepare plan for conservation

Wednesday, 12 May 2021 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Government has received the Cabinet approval to declare the Muthurajawela wetland area as a Ramzar wetland and to prepare a master plan for its conservation.

The Cabinet of Ministers has approved the combined proposal submitted by the Prime Minister as the Minister of Urban Development and Housing with the Ministers of Wildlife and Forest Conservation and Environment in this regard.

According to a statement on cabinet decisions, the wetland environmental system in the proximity of Muthurajawela spread in an area approximately 6,232 hectares with the Negombo lagoon and a wetland/marshy land, is delivering a tremendous support in maintaining the socioeconomic wellbeing of the urban population securing the environmental stability of the area.

The Master Plan prepared in 1991 jointly by the Central Environment Authority with Greater Colombo Economic Commission with the objective of protecting this wetland area has introduced three major land utilisation patterns as the conservation zone, induction zone and mixed urban zone.

Further to this, the Department of Wildlife and Forest Conservation has nominated a portion of 1,285.45 hectares of land as Muthurajawela reserve while the Central Environment Authority has nominated an area in extent of 162.1 hectares as an environment protection area.

However, this ecosystem is threatened of destruction due to reasons such as irregular land filling, development of various infrastructure facilities for numerous purposes, encroachments and disposal of garbage.

Therefore, the Cabinet of Ministers granted approval to take the following measures to ensure the long term existence of the wetland area as well as its sustainable usage, the statement said.

Accelerated preparation of a master plan to suit the contemporary period for the conservation of Muthurajawela wet land zone

Appointment of a monitoring committee and a working committee comprised of the heads/representatives of the applicable stakeholder institutions

Acquisition of required Government/private lands for implementation of an appropriate conservation methodology subject to the provisions of the Urban Development Act as per the Monitoring Committee recommendations

Entrusting the responsibility of taking necessary actions in regard to the sustainable usage of the ecosystem as a wetland/lowland to Sri Lanka Land Development Cooperation

The areas identified under the Master Plan as areas to be declared conserved as a National Reserve under the Fauna and Flora Ordinance

Taking necessary actions to declare Muthurajawela wetland area as a Ramzar wetland by implementing the Master plan that is to be prepared by the Monitoring Committee