Dismay as highway set to run over RAMSAR wetland!

Home to a plexus of sensitive ecosystems and a birds’ paradise, Thalangama comprises the few remaining green patches in Colombo’s wetlands. With the historic Thalangama Lake on one end, the Averihena Lake on the other, marshlands and an endless stretch of paddy fields, the area is one of the most undisturbed spots in the busy capital. But the greeneries may not last for long. A proposed elevated highway project, that has been in the pipeline since 2015, will soon commence operations with the main objective of easing traffic congestion, much to the dismay of the area folk. Being a biodiversity hotspot and a highly residential area, the area that falls under the gazetted ‘Thalangama Environmental Protection Area’ (EPA) has so far been protected as per the National Environmental Act. Although there were several options to the proposed project, which connects the Kelani Bridge to Athurugiriya, the authorities haven’t given the nod for alternatives. Therefore, the authorities are likely to go ahead with the existing proposal where the highway will run across the EPA which also borders a residential area.

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