Stripping the environment naked in the guise of development

Sri Lanka’s wildlife and environment are experiencing a rough patch and environmentalists have been up in arms ever since. From increased snaring to the human-elephant conflict, approving questionable projects in sensitive ecosystems devoid of Environmental Impact Assessments, giving the go-ahead for activities such as sand and rock mining to deforestation in forest lands, the list seems to be endless. The most recent development is the government’s plan to amend Circular No. 05/2001 in order to give authority back to District and Divisional Secretaries to transfer lands to non-state entities for economic purposes. Therefore, the Department of Forest Conservation (DFC) will not have an authority to assess whether it’s a critical area or not, prior to the land being given away.

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