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MEPA Launches Sayura Rakina Ralla

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In order to protect Sri Lanka’s endangered water resources and environment, Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) launched the ‘Sayura Rakina Ralla’ (Protect the Sea) community-led programme. Under this umbrella initiative the organisation also launched the ‘Sayura Rakina Ralla’ Facebook page and a theme song to engage and educate the public on proper waste disposal and minimizing the use of non-biodegradable waste, thereby encouraging them to take a proactive approach in restoring the coastlines of Sri Lanka to its former glory.

In order to shed light on the country’s lack of correct waste disposal whilst parallelly encouraging and educating Sri Lankans to ‘clean up their act’, MEPA, which is under the aegis of the State Ministry of Urban Development, Coast Conservation, Waste Disposal and Community Cleanliness, commenced the community-led Corporate Social Responsibility programme ‘Sayura Rakina Ralla’ which was inaugurated by Sri Lanka Rugby and Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, Dialog Axiata PLC (“Dialog”) with a beach clean-up at Sarakkuwa beach in Ja-Ela.

The ‘Sayura Rakina Ralla’ Facebook (FB) page and campaign was also launched at the beach clean-up by State Minister of Urban Development, Coast Conservation, Waste Disposal and Community Cleanliness Hon Dr. Nalaka Godahewa MP, MEPA goodwill ambassadors Bhathiya and Santhush (BnS), Chairperson of the Environment Protection Agency (MEPA) Dharshani Lahandapura and General Manager of MEPA Dr. Terney Pradeep Kumara.  

Sri Lanka has ranked poorly according to a global pollution study conducted by the World Bank in 2015, with plastic emerging as the chief culprit. On average, a Sri Lankan produces 500g of non-degradable waste per day resulting in a mammoth amount of 100 million KGs of solid waste added into Sri Lanka’s coastal waters, according to 2017 records. Sri Lanka despite taking pride in its turquoise seas, white sandy beaches, lush virgin forests and extensive lakes and rivers is one of the biggest polluters of non-bio-degradable waste in the world, especially in terms of plastic.

“I hope ‘Sayura Rakina Ralla’ generates the necessary traction that will educate the public to take the much-needed steps to help turn the fate of Sri Lanka’s coastline around so that future generations too can enjoy and savour its beauty,” stated Dr. Nalaka Godahewa MP, State Minister of Urban Development, Coast Conservation, Waste Disposal and Community Cleanliness.

“Being an island nation, with 510,000 square kilometres of sea under its belt as an Exclusive Economic Zone, which is eight times the size of the country’s land mass, it’s critical for Sri Lanka’s economy that we safeguard our primary national asset, our marine resources from pollution and lead the way in sustainable economic growth within the South Asian region.” Dr. Godahewa further added.

“Sri Lanka’s national wealth is the sea and as Sri Lankan citizens we should take responsibility in protecting our natural assets for the future generations to come,” Dharshani Lahandapura, Chairperson of MEPA said. “I would like to thank MEPA’s goodwill ambassadors, renowned musical duo Bathiya & Santhush for producing our theme song, Dialog Axiata for the overall support they have given towards MEPA and Sri Lanka Rugby who joined us for the inaugural beach clean-up project at Sarakkuwa Beach,” she further said.

The FB page can be found by simple typing ‘Sayura Rakina Ralla’  on FB search – https://www.facebook.com/SayuraRakinaRalla

If you would like to contribute your efforts towards the Marine Environment Protection Agency (MEPA) please contact Operations Manager of MEPA, Ms. Thalatha Ranasinghe on 076 6599088 



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Nightlife is essential without hindrance to other tourists, residents and businesses – Diana Gamage

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Minister of State for Tourism  Diana Gamage acknowledged that events that emanated noise should be conducted within a soundproof environment without causing any inconvenience or disturbance to other tourists who are here to relax, residents of the area and other businesses inasmuch its necessity to boost the economy by generating revenue.

She made this comment speaking at a press conference themed ‘Collective path to a stable country’ at the Presidential Media Centre today (22),

As debates continue regarding the regulation of nightlife, she urged stakeholders to consider the broader economic implications and the vital role that nightlife plays in driving economic activity and sustaining national finances. She further emphasized the importance of providing entertainment options to tourists, particularly in beach areas, which are major attractions for visitors. According to her, nightlife plays a crucial role in catering to the needs of tourists, not only in beach areas but also in urban centres like Colombo. The Minister noted that current regulations often restrict entertainment options, citing examples such as early last orders in hotels and restaurants, which may not align with the preferences of international tourists.

Drawing attention to the diverse origins of tourists, including those from the UK, France, and Germany, the State Minister Diana Gamage emphasized the need for flexibility in entertainment hours to accommodate varying cultural norms and preferences.

As discussions on tourism regulations continue, stakeholders are encouraged to consider the perspectives of tourists and the potential economic benefits of promoting a vibrant nightlife scene. The Minister’s remarks underscore the importance of striking a balance between regulation and the provision of entertainment options to ensure a memorable and enjoyable experience for visitors to Sri Lanka.

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All vocational training institutes in Sri Lanka should be consolidated into a single vocational college – President

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe during an observation tour at the Ratmalana Lalith Athulathmudali Vocational Training Centre, this morning (22) , outlined plans to consolidate all vocational training institutes in Sri Lanka into a single vocational college, offering contemporary subject-related courses.

He said that the restructuring of vocational education was  essential to align with the demands of the modern world, ensuring that the youth of the country are equipped to excel in the competitive global job market.

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Opposition threatens to move no-faith motion against Speaker over OSB

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Speaker Abeywardena

By Saman Indrajith

Opposition and SJB leader Sajith Premnadasa told Parliament yesterday that the Online Safety Bill had been passed in violation of the law and unless remedial action was taken, a no-faith motion would be brought against Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.

Premadasa said that Article 123(4) of the Constitution says, “Where any Bill, or the provision of any Bill, has been determined, or is deemed to have been determined, to be inconsistent with the Constitution, such Bill or such provision shall not be passed except in the manner stated in the determination of the Supreme Court.”

Premadasa said: “It is illegal to pass a Bill without adhering to this constitutional provision. There were nine instances where the government overlooked the Supreme Court determination on the Bill. The Speaker allowed that to happen despite our protests. The Justice Minister, too, has admitted that there are flaws in the Act. How could that happen? Rectify them immediately, or we will bring a no-confidence motion against the Speaker.”

Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said that even if the Supreme Court determined that a section or clause of a draft Bill was inconsistent with the Constitution, a Bill could be passed by Parliament. It could be done with either a two-thirds majority or two-thirds majority plus people’s approval from a referendum. A case cannot be filed against the way the Speaker or an MP behaved in this House as they have immunity. Former Speaker Anura Bandaranaike, too, has given a ruling on this issue and we still consider it as a precedent to be upheld. With regard to the Online Safety Bill, the Attorney General has instructed Public Security Minister Tiran Alles to incorporate some amendments as per the Supreme Court determination and to bring other recommended amendments in the form of a separate Amendment Bill. I was not a party to that discussion. This Amendment Bill was presented to the Cabinet and approval was granted and now is at the Legal Draftsman’s Department. Thereafter, it would be referred to the Cabinet again and with that approval we can have it here in this House for consideration,” the Minister said.

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