Hayleys Fabric Managing Director/CEO Rohan Goonetilleke together with his team from Hayleys Fabric, Government officials and other representatives at the Kalu Ganga Tree Planting project
Working in collaboration with the Environment Protection Division of the Sri Lanka Police, Central Environmental Authority, Kalutara and the Water Board, Hayleys Fabric PLC commenced the third phase of its ongoing reforestation campaign with the planting of 500 saplings along the banks of the Kalu Ganga.
The event was patronised by DIG (Environment) H.H. Chulasiri, Water Board DGM Premasiri, Dodangoda Div. Secretary Darshana Ranasinghe, Madurawela Div. Secretary Disna Jayasinghe, CEA Assistant Director Priyantha, BOI Assistant Director Tharaka Jayawardena, and joined by several other state officials as well as a group of volunteers representing both local and British university students also participated.
Aligned with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG) on Climate Action (SDG 13), this year’s campaign represented a major expansion on previous commitments to plant 200 trees annually, and took place in the Dodangoda and Maduruwala Divisional Secretariats – areas which had been severely affected by landslides and floods in recent years.
“Trees like the kumbuk saplings we are planting today are an essential component to the health of an ecosystem, helping to create resilience against floods and droughts, and even purify water in proximity to these trees and stabilising soil against erosion while also providing shelter and food to numerous other species. In addition to supporting local ecosystems, reforestation campaigns have an equally important long-term significance in terms of their ability to re-absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide.
“Particularly in the context of rapid deforestation in Sri Lanka and across the world today, together with the rising impacts of climate change; the need for systematic global reforestation campaigns are more urgent than ever, for ourselves and for all future generations. This is why each of us at Hayleys Fabric takes immense pride in our ‘Plant a Tree’ campaign and we remain committed to supporting and further expanding this vital initiative in order to secure a future that is environmentally, socially and financially sustainable,” Hayleys Fabric Managing Director/CEO Rohan Goonetilleke said.
He further noted that the first set of 30 kumbuk trees were sustainably sourced, root-balled and planted inside the Hayleys Fabric Premises, close to the river in 2015 and they have now grown to be attractive trees, over and above the over 30 acres of land reserved by Hayleys Fabric for forestation with rubber and fruit trees, which will eventually grow to provide important shelter and sustenance for birds as well as ponds maintained on the reserve that are home to thriving populations of duck and fish.
The initiative will see to the plantation of mostly kumbuk and other native tree saplings planted along the banks of the Kalu Ganga which is prone to severe erosion and by extension floods and landslides, as evidenced by the 2017 disaster which saw 15 districts including Kalutara fall prey to the south-western monsoon in addition to Cyclone Mora which triggered several landslides.
The Hayleys Fabric Plant-A-Tree campaign first commenced in on a large scale in 2016 with the planting of 200 saplings along the banks of the Kalu Ganga, and a further project for an equal number of saplings along the Southern Highway in order to combat severe flooding.
The company also conducts awareness programs across the area to educate sand collectors of the detrimental effects of over mining while also providing an introduction to tree care. Employees at sand collection points will care for the plants while employees at Hayleys Fabric will overlook the project in the long term and offer necessary guidance and facilities.
Established in 1878 by Chas. P. Hayley as a trading house in Galle specialising in import and export, the Hayleys Group has since grown to serve as a centrepiece of the Sri Lankan economy while maintaining a global presence of manufacturing and marketing offices across five regions with business interests spanning a total of 16 sectors. Today it stands out as one of Sri Lanka’s most prominent success stories, having been the first listed Sri Lankan corporate to surpass $ 1 billion in revenue and accounting for 3.3% of the nation’s total export earnings.