Chairman of the COPE, Prof. Charitha Herath MP has instructed Secretary to the Ministry of Environment, Dr. Anil Jasinghe to amend the National Environmental Act to meet the needs of the time.
The COPE Chairman said that there had been attempts to amend the National Environmental Act for two decades.
Prof. Herath said that there had been lengthy discussions about the weaknesses and loopholes of the Act, however nothing had been done to address those issues. Some institutions were opposed to amending the Act and instructed the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) to hold discussions and iron out the issues, he said.
The National Environmental Act was also discussed when the COPE took into consideration an environmental audit on the import, use and post use management of plastics. Between 2012 and 2018, Sri Lanka had imported 3.35 billion kilos of plastic spending Rs. 184.3 billion.
It was also revealed that there had been a drastic, year on year, increase in plastic imports between 2012 and 2017. Since Sri Lanka did not have an optimal waste management system, the plastic imports were causing great environmental damage, the COPE Chairman said.
The COPE was of the view that the Ministry of Provincial Councils as well as local authorities themselves should play a bigger role in collecting and disposing of plastic waste. Laws regulating the use of plastic should also be strengthened, he said.
The COPE also noted that there were neither quality standards nor price controls set for biodegradable food containers and that those had to be addressed soon. Although the manufacturers claimed that those items were biodegradable; there had been no study on how they degrade when they interact with the soil, water, marine environment or at garbage disposal sites.
The CEA was also instructed to discourage the import of plastic, offer environmental friendly solutions to consumers and promote them. The Secretary of the Ministry of Environment was used to inform COPE on the progress of the National Initiative to manage Post Use Plastic Waste.
The Cabinet of Ministers had approved the National Policy on Waste management on October 10, 2019; however it had not been implemented, COPE commented.
Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’
By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam
The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.
Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.
A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.
The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.
According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.
The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.
DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.
PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners
By Norman Palihawadane
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.
Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.
The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”
Thilo Hoffman remembered
A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.
Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.
The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.
Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’
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