Illegal Gem Mining Ruins Wildlife Park, Officials Unable to Act

Officials of the Department of Wildlife Conservation yesterday said that illegal gem mining was taking place in the buffer zone of the Gal Oya National Park, but they were unable to take any action as other state institutions promoted it.

The mining activities were taking place with neither an Initial Impact Assessment (IIA) nor an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), officials said. A senior official of the Department said that the Survey Department, the Gems and Jewellery Authority and Agrarian Services had allowed illegal gem mining.

The official also said that those involved in mining activities entered the Park, purchasing tickets. The Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) Policy and Advocacy and Campaign Officer, Janaka Withanage, told The Island. 

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