Conservation of Gal Oya National Park at Stake?

The controversy surrounding the effects on the Gal Oya National Park where cultivation, mining and human settlement are rampant, but are yet to be addressed, amidst contradictory views between environmentalists and authorities.

According to environmentalists, the boundary of the Gal Oya National Park, which was declared a National park in 1954, has been altered from time to time for different needs with the most controversial incident being that of providing land for gem mining.

Environmentalists point out that the boundaries demarcate the area that forms a part of the National park and that outside of the National park this demarcation has been altered and was clearly visible in 2012 and 2020.

According to the Senior Adviser to the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) and Chair of Friends of Earth International Hemantha Withanage, when approval for gem mining was first sought, it was rejected by the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) after carrying out inspections and after having called for reports on the basis that the land for which approval was sought was a field within the Gal Oya National park.

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