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Lanka ranks above Asian neighbours in air quality

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Sri Lanka has ranked above its South Asian neighbours, outperforming them in Air Quality measurement, according to the Environmental Performance Index 2020 (EPI) released by researchers at Yale and Columbia universities recently.

The prestigious index, now in its 22nd year, has become the premier metrics framework for global environmental policy analysis, ranking 180 countries on several performance indicators across a range of issue categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality.

Based on peer comparisons, overall Sri Lanka is ranked 109th with an EPI score of 39 out of 100, ahead when compared with its South Asian counterparts. 

The Air Quality issue category measures the direct impacts of air pollution on human health in each country. It consists of three indicators: PM2.5 exposure, household solid fuels, and ozone exposure.

Sri Lanka is ranked 91 in Air Quality according to the 2020 EPI, importantly the country has over a 10-year period continued to demonstrate a positive growth when compared to the region.

In contrast, other South Asian nations lagged behind in Air Quality, notably with Bangladesh ranked 166, India 179 and Pakistan 180, resulting in millions of people suffering from dangerous levels of air pollution.

The EPI ranks 180 countries on 32 performance indicators across 11 issue categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality.

 The 2020 EPI features new metrics that gauge waste management, carbon dioxide emissions from land cover change, and black carbon emissions – all important drivers of climate change.

 Denmark was ranked first in the world, followed by Luxembourg and Switzerland in the top 3 countries as a result of strong results across most issues and leading commitments and outcomes with regards to climate change mitigation.

 The lowest scores were earned by a series of countries that are struggling broadly with weak governance, including Liberia (180th), Myanmar (179th), and Afghanistan (178th). 

 The index found that no country is decarbonising quickly enough. Some countries do excel in individual greenhouse gas reductions, most notably Denmark in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, the UK in methane, and Norway in fluorinated gases. 

To spread best practices around the world, policymakers must pay greater attention to how climate leaders achieve success, the report noted. 

The EPI is a method of quantifying and numerically marking the environmental performance of a state’s policies. This index was developed from the Pilot Environmental Performance Index, first published in 2002, and designed to supplement the environmental targets set forth in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

 

 



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SL gets Rs 452 mn for saving ill-fated tanker: Rs. 3.4 bn asked for

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By Ifham Nizam and Rathindra Kuruwita

The Marine Enviro-nment Protection Authority (MEPA) yesterday received Rs. 452 million from London for having saved MT New Diamond, a super oil tanker that caught fire in the Sri Lanka’s territorial waters last year.

MEPA General Manager, Dr. P. B. Terney Pradeep Kumara told The Island that Rs. 442 million had come for the services rendered by the Sri Lanka Navy, MEPA and Rs. 10 million by way of a fine imposed on the Ship’s Captain.

However, Sri Lanka has to receive a much larger amount for the damage caused to the marine environment, Dr. Kumara said. Following the incident, Sri Lankan authorities filed charges against the Captain of the ill-fated vessel and made a claim for $2.4 million from the ship’s owners for the firefighting and pollution prevention efforts.

Twenty experts from the Universities of Moratuwa, Ruhuna and Sri Jayewardenepura submitted their recommendations as regards the damage to the environment, to the Attorney General. Based on the report, the Attorney General’s Department had asked for Rs. 3.4 billion (around USD 19 million) as compensation for environmental damage, the Coordinating Officer for the Attorney General, state counsel Nishara Jayaratne said.

Soon they would have discussions with the lawyers of the shipping agent concerned on compensation for environmental damage caused, she said.

Dr. Kumara, who is the former Head of the Department of Oceanography/Marine Geology of the Ruhuna University, said that the incident had caused deaths among marine species due to spillage of some toxic fuel from the vessel.

The MT New Diamond crude oil tanker was transporting 270,000 MT oil from the port of Meena Al Ahmadi in Kuwait to the Port of Paradip in India when a fire broke out in its engine room as the vessel was passing the eastern seas of Sri Lanka on September 3, 2020.

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PSC on gender equality meets for the first time

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State Minister, Fernandopulle flanked by two other PSC members

Special attention on microfinance

The Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to further gender equality, to investigate instances of discrimination against women and to present recommendations to Parliament, focused on microfinance loans that are currently affecting a large number of women in Sri Lanka, when they met for the first time in Parliament recently.

The meeting was chaired by the State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID-19 Disease Control Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle.

It was also revealed that the Cabinet had approved the re-establishment of an institution to regulate Microfinance loans in Sri Lanka.

The MPs also discussed the role of the Select Committee. They decided that the primary role of the Committee should be to investigate women’s grievances and all forms of discrimination based on gender, including workplace violence.

Another task before this committee is to examine and review laws that can be used to enhance gender equality, encourage relevant ministries and authorities to formulate plans to further gender equality and to allocate financial resources.

The Committee will also try to encourage greater women’s representation in decision-making bodies at the national and provincial levels as well as in government, civil society and the private sector.

MPs Rohini Kaviratne, (Dr.) Harini Amarasuriya, M. Udayakumar, S. Sritharan, Rohana Bandara and the Secretary to the Committee, Deputy Secretary General and Chief of Staff of the Parliament Kushani Rohanadheera were also present at the meeting.

 

 

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A/L Examination from October 04 to 30

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The 2021 GCE Advanced Level examination would be held from October 4 to 30, Education Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said yesterday addressing the media at his Ministry.

Minister Peiris said the examination was earlier scheduled to be held in August.

The Grade 5 scholarship examination would be held on October 03 and the 2021 GCE Ordinary Level (O/L) examination in the last week of January 2022, the Minister said.

“Usually, schools are open for academic activities for around 200 days a year. But in 2020, schools were open for about 150 days. It was around 130 days in the Western Province. We were not able to fill this gap with online classes due to lack of internet facilities in many parts of the country,” he said.

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