‘Sinharaja’ Commercial projects leaves ‘gasping’

The ‘lungs of Sri Lanka’ are gasping for air. The Sinharaja Forest Reserve was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 1988 and is arguably the most important biodiversity site in the country.

With over 11,187 hectares of land the Forest Reserve spans through Galle, Ratnapura and Matara districts. Back in 2013 the Neluwa-Deniyaya road construction project began in the borders of the Sinharaja Forest and due to pressure exerted by UNESCO the project was suspended. However, at the onset of the new cabinet assuming duties, work under the same project commenced on July 30; much to the fury of environmentalists. With petitions and complaints filed to UNESCO, President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on Tuesday ordered the suspension of this project. However, matters have not been settled as yet.

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