By Ifham Nizam
A research conducted in Jaffna last year has revealed that the rapid salinisation and pollution of groundwater in the northern peninsula and very likely elsewhere in Sri Lanka is leading to the adaptation of freshwater malaria and arboviral mosquito vectors to brackish water and polluted water with physiological changes that reduce the effectiveness of present vector control methods.
Snr. Prof. Pathmalal M. Manage, Professor of Zoology Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies Co-Chair, Research Council Director, Center for Water Quality and Algae Research Ecotoxicologist Water Quality Specialist, Environmental Scientist of the Sri Jayewardenepura University, speaking on State of Sri Lanka’s Environment 2020, a brainchild of Centre for Environmental Justice, also said Nitrate contamination in drinking water was a major crisis in Jaffna.
He said that due to harmful biological impacts of nitrate concentrated water caused methemoglobinemia (bluebaby syndrome), tumors and gastrointestinal cancers).
A recent investigation in the Chunnakam area revealed nitrate- N level of 45 ppm. Hence, nitrate contamination of groundwater in the Jaffna is found to be the most challenging issue in the water management system.
“Without any consideration on nitrate reduction from groundwater in the peninsula, nitrate pollution will affect large areas and bring about potable water scarcity in Jaffna. The long-term exposure of the kidney via drinking water with elevated levels of ions will add to the occurrence of kidney failure. In conclusion, Chemical Water pollution, domestic water pollution, fecal contamination, water scarcity, over extraction of ground water, remains unresolved throughout the year 2020.”
Meanwhile Senior Environmental Lawyer Jagath Gunawardena termed the 2020 a bad year for forests of the country.
He said the closure of the country during the first half of the year saw an upsurge in illegal forest clearings and massive forest destruction.
CEJ, Executive Director Hemantha Withanage said that it
was a report produced to give an assessment of the positive and negative environmental developments of a country in a given year.
He said a country should have a baseline to get a clear picture of the status. Sri Lanka lacks much of the environmental data since there is a lack of knowledge management and also a loss of historical data.
CEJ prepared this status report to see whether Sri Lanka has achieved negative or positive developments in various environmental sectors during the year 2020, so that interested readers can have an idea about its annual environmental status.
Two-year reconciliation project spurns Lord Naseby’s disclosure
EU, Germany funded scheme costs Rs. 8 mn
By Shamindra Ferdinando
The National Peace Council (NPC) says war-related matters hadn’t been discussed at the nearly two-year-long reconciliation project that brought together students from Eastern, Jaffna, Ruhuna and Sabaragamuwa Universities.
More than 160 students have participated in the project that culminated with a conference on the theme of ‘Plural Sri Lanka: Paths to reconciliation.’ Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris delivered the closing address and responded to questions from the audience.
Pointing out that post-war reconciliation efforts had been badly hampered by allegations that the Sri Lankan military killed over 40,000 civilians on the Vanni east front, The Island sought clarification as regards measures taken by the NPC to improve relations among the communities, and the following questions were raised:
During your two-year long project did participants discuss specific war crimes allegations and disclosure made in the House of Lords in Oct 2017 that contradicted unsubstantiated accusations pertaining to 40,000 civilian deaths.
Executive Director NPC Dr. Jehan Perera:
“No, we did not discuss these war-related matters. The project was titled “Creative Youth Engagement for Pluralism” and it focused on the nature of Sri Lanka as a plural society and the value framework that should guide it. The research papers highlighted the diversity within Sri Lankan society that goes beyond ethnicity and religion. They included topics such as “Attitudes of Society on Education and Transsexuality: A Comparative Study on the Ideologies of a Community with Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Education,” and “Pluralism and University Subculture: An Ethnological Study on Young Behavior towards Social Cohesion,” and “An Investigative Study of the Challenges Posed by the Changes in the Aboriginal Society.”
What is the total cost of the project?
: Rs 8 million was spent to train and mentor the writers of the 30 research publications in four universities, translate, review and publish their findings in book form and for the conference which brought the students to Colombo.
What is the GoSL’s contribution?
There was no direct financial support by the government. Four state universities supported through their faculty members and students.
The Island: What is the NPC’s stand on accountability resolution and announcement made in Geneva that the Sri Lankan military would be subjected to a fresh inquiry?
In order to get out of these allegations, there is a need for a credible and independent investigation. Our preference is for a national mechanism that is acceptable to all sides. Accountability will need to be a part of the reconciliation process. NPC favours the restorative justice approach which focuses on ensuring justice to victims. This includes an acknowledgement of wrongs done and reparations and institutional reform to ensure that there is non-recurrence.
The Island: Are you also engaged in post-war reconciliation projects funded by Norway?
NPC hasn’t obtained funds from Norway for the past five years.
The recently concluded project has been funded by a project called Strengthening Reconciliation Process here jointly funded by the European Union and the German Federal Foreign Office and implemented by Deutsche Gesellsschaft Fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the British Council in partnership with the Sri Lankan Government.
Speaker promises to appoint bi-partisan committee to look into incidents in Parliament
Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena announced in Parliament yesterday (06) that a committee consisting of senior members from the Government and Opposition would be appointed within the week to look into the incidents that took place in Parliament last Friday and Saturday and submit a report.
High Court Trial-at-Bar orders release of several accused from 11 charges in CB bond auction case
By AJA Abeynayake
Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar yesterday ordered the release of several accused, including former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayke and former Central Bank former Governor Arjuna Mahendra, from 11 charges out of 22 in connection with the Central Bank bond auction held on 31 March, 2016.
Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar held that public property charges against the accused could not be maintained. Indictments had been filed against Perpetual Treasuries Private Ltd (PTL), former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayke, CBSL former Governor Arjuna Mahendran, Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) beneficiary owner Arjun Aloysius, PTL Chief dealer Kasun Palisena, Chairman of PTL Jeffrey Joseph Aloysius, Chitta Ranjan Hulugalle, Muthuraja Surendran, Ajahn Gardiye Punchihewa and Badugoda Hewa Indika Saman Kumara in connection with bond auction held on March 31, 2016.
The case against seventh accused Ranjan Hulugalle was dismissed on preliminary objections raised.
President’s Counsel Anil Silva, Counsel Asela Serasinghe, Hafeel Farisz, Sahan Kulatunga and Vishwaka Peiris appeared for the seventh accused.
The Attorney General’s stance regarding the future cause of action to be informed on 26 Jan. 2022.
The Attorney General had alleged that the PTL had been using the Central Bank’s important undisclosed information to alter the final outcome of the Treasury bond auction and it had a huge impact on the overall national economy as a result of the subtle; the systematic conduct of the offences related to the fraud and had caused injustice to other primary sellers in the bond market, and the PTL had acted cunningly and made a huge profit and conspired to cause a huge loss to the government.
The case was postponed until 26 Jan. 2022.
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