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Proposed coastal structures for Mawella Bay causing concern among investors

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By Ifham Nizam

Tourism real estate investors recently expressed concern about some proposed coastal structures to be constructed in Mawella Bay.

They say the said constructions have not been decided on any scientific basis and are bound to cause massive destruction of the Mawella coastline.

An investor told The Island Financial Review that they are concerned as no Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was done but only an Initial Environmental Examination (IEE), which is not sufficient considering the fact that all stakeholders in this ecologically fragile landscape were not consulted.

Their fears were compounded in September and the early part of October when the sea came right up to the mangrove level taking over large portions of the beach. This is just after one part of the proposed constructions, i.e. an anchorage, was built in the bay area.

Zander Combe – part owner Halcyon Mawella Hotel said that it is high time the government considered seriously protecting Sri Lanka’s tourism areas as it is imperative that they are protected for the future generations and the economic future of Sri Lanka.

“There is no scientific evidence that building these coastal structures has any positive effect on the environment, quite the opposite in fact, he added.

He also said investors in the tourism industry need to be assured that their investments are safe going forward and areas like Mawella need to be protected so that tourism can grow and the local communities can benefit from the upcoming boom in Sri Lanka tourism.

They also say there is no real need for an anchorage because most of the fishermen in the area pull their boats on to the beach, adding to the tourist attraction.

Mawella Bay up to now remains one of Sri Lanka’s beautiful untouched beaches. It is two kilometers long, pristine and well suited for high- end tourism. This is one of the few beaches on the island’s southern coast that is calm, serene and is swimmable all year round. Leaving aside the tourism potential, the changes seen on the beach since these constructions began, show signs of people living in the area also being negatively affected as a result of these coastal protective hard structures.

The real estate investors point to three reports done by experts on the damages caused to coastal areas by man- made hard structures. The 1988 report on ‘Coastal Area Management in Sri Lanka’ by Kem Lowry of the University of Hawaii and H.J.M. Wickremeratne of the Coast Conservation Dept. which says some of the structures built by the CCD were without any scientific understanding of the local coastal dynamics, resulting in the ‘solution’ to prevent erosion in one area causing considerable erosion elsewhere. The report cites several examples where this occurred and says these were probably done under public pressure to prevent erosion but proved to be disastrous.

A more recent research project carried out by the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) in March 2021 titled, ‘Are coastal protective hard structures still applicable with respect to shoreline changes in Sri Lanka?’, refers to human influence on nature. It says the application of hard structures is least able to control coastal erosion in a large area because while it may be good for the site it is not helpful for adjacent areas. It says the environment will remain under its natural conditions as long as humans introduce no alterations.

While both reports point to hard structures doing more damage than good, let’s explore another report presented by Professor Charitha Pattiaratchi, Professor of Coastal Oceanography at the University of Western Australia, who has done his research specifically on the proposed hard structures for Mawella Bay.

The proposed structure includes a 300 meters long stone anchorage which is already built and two offshore breakwaters to mitigate erosion. While the anchorage is already causing some concern among bay area landowners and residents, there is a contrary view on the two breakwaters from the eminent coastal scientist.

He says the construction of the two 60m offshore breakwaters is not recommended because they are located in a region with high waves and current activity.

‘The region for the proposed breakwaters is a highly complex region in terms of hydrodynamics and sand transport. The breakwaters will retain sand in the lee which will interrupt the alongshore transport of sand. As the sand retained would be from regions along the ~1.5 km length of beach there is a strong probability of extreme erosion in other regions of the Bay, says Professor Pattiarachchi.

Reopening of the tourism industry is absolutely necessary to protect livelihoods and businesses and beach tourism has a lot of potential in helping the country grow and boost the economy. If these natural locations that can serve the people aren’t protected, the country is throwing away opportunities that it then has to build up from elsewhere.



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‘Rekindle Happiness with New Experiences’ this Season with Nations Trust Bank American Express

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The season of joy comes early for Nations Trust Bank American Express Cardmembers, with the ‘Rekindle Happiness with New Experiences’ campaign. Cardmembers will receive amazing benefits and savings from over 300 merchants island-wide, across all categories online and offline, all the way to 31st December 2021.

The time spent with loved ones during this season of togetherness and sharing will be a gift in itself. Nations Trust Bank American Express launched the seasonal campaign with the hope of bringing new life to the season of happiness and merriment. With the countless benefits and privileges, the campaign will allow loyal Cardmembers to celebrate this season in style with memories for the ages.

The offers for Cardmembers come from a wide range of categories including but not limited to Clothing, Gifting, Hampers, Dining, Hotel stays, Supermarkets, and Automobiles.  Niluka Gunatilake, Head of Cards at Nations Trust Bank stated, “It’s that time of the year when everybody looks forward to the year-end cheer and festivities. Particularly, after coming out of several lockdowns, we are all excited for the upcoming festive season. Nations Trust Bank American Express is delighted to present seasonal benefits and privileges for our Cardmembers to celebrate this season of giving, sharing and joy! They can look forward to a rewarding season with a plethora of offers as we partner with leading retail establishments, dining partners, hotels & resorts. We invite our Cardmembers make use of the benefits and privileges and have a wonderful season to rekindle happiness with new experiences.”

Nations Trust Bank American Express invites cardmembers to enjoy the festivities and find out more about the benefits and privileges offered this season by visiting www.americanexpress.lk. The Bank strongly advises Cardmembers to adhere to all health and safety guidelines issued by the Government whilst they enjoy their seasonal shopping, dining and lodging.

Nations Trust Bank PLC is among the top 15 business establishments in Sri Lanka as ranked by Business Today. Stemming from its vision of “helping people and businesses by providing financial services and information to achieve their goals and aspirations in a sustainable way”, the Bank serves a diverse range of customers across both individual and corporate, with an enviable portfolio of banking and financial products and services. Strongly focused on digital empowerment through cutting-edge digital banking technologies, the Bank is a pioneer in many innovative customer centric banking solutions such as extended banking hours, and FriMi – Sri Lanka’s first digital banking experience. Delivering premium value, service and connecting its Card Members to rewarding experiences and opportunities Nations Trust Bank PLC is an issuer and sole acquirer of American Express Cards in Sri Lanka. The Bank operates 96 branches across the country and has an ATM network covering 127 locations and 48 Cash Deposit & Withdrawal Machines, plus more than 3,700 ATMs on the Lanka Pay Network.

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Airtel’s network expansion to amplify island-wide 4G coverage

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Airtel Lanka, a subsidiary of international telecom giant Bharti Airtel Limited, recently revealed its plans to strategically expand its new 4G network across the island.

As such, over 400 new 4G sites are being commissioned across the country, which is in addition to the 2,000 plus 4G sites Airtel added during the launch of its 4G.

The new 4G sites are mapped out to ensure enhanced capacity in highly populated areas and coverage penetration into rural regions. Airtel’s 4G network is built on a triple layer network, which gives it a solid combination of coverage and capacity to deliver a superior experience with drastically improved indoor coverage with stronger signal penetration.

Having already completed over a third of the newly planned 4G sites, the finished sites are estimated to cover over an additional one million of the population. A prominent cause for the company to expedite its expansion drive was the two-fold increase in data usage since the pandemic brought along a new normal.

“I am certain that our rapid expansion strategy will directly benefit our consumers across the island, giving them a refreshed and enhanced network experience through our world-class 4G capabilities. Until adequate or even excess coverage is obtained, we will continue our 4G expansion drive, with every location also being 5G-ready to seamlessly accommodate the next generation of network when the time comes,” commented Airtel Lanka CEO/MD Ashish Chandra.

Through this drive, Airtel users will be given the opportunity to enjoy a network experience unlike ever before. As Airtel is also equipped with a refreshed prepaid and postpaid model with the recent launch of ‘Freedom Packs’, the launch of Airtel 4G is the telco’s single largest investment in Sri Lanka since its entry into the island in 2009. The purpose-built 4G network promises users a superior user experience including 99% buffer-free streaming, noticeably quicker loading times and improved indoor coverage with 4G signals that never fail.

From online learning to work-from-home to virtual socialising, every user from children to adults will be able to benefit from not having to face any more call drops, interruptions or coverage issues.

In addition to the company led expansion of amplifying coverage island wide, Airtel’s joint venture with the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka’s (TRCSL) Gamata Sanniwedanaya aims to achieve 100% island wide coverage by 2022 by bridging the digital gap in rural districts with poor network coverage, by providing equal access to mobile connectivity for all Sri Lankans.

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HNB hails Sri Lanka Paralympic heroes as an inspiration to new generation of athletes

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(front row) HNB DGM –Retail & SME Banking, Sanjay Wijemanne (third from left), HNB MD/CEO, Jonathan Alles (fifth from left), HNB Chief Transformation Officer /DGM, L. Chiranthi Cooray (fifth from right) and HNB AGM and HNB Sports Club President Hisham Ally (second from right) with Paralympic Bronze medallist, Samitha Dulan Kodithuwakku (second from right) and Paralympic Gold medallist, Dinesh Herath (fourth from left) and National Paralympic Committee (NPC) of Sri Lanka Honorary President, Lieutenant Colonel Deepal Herath (fourth from right) together with the Sri Lankan Paralympic team, coaches and officials.

Sri Lanka’s very first Olympic Gold Medallist together with the Bronze medallist and participant delegation to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, resonated a vibrant and inspirational example to new generation athletes and youth of the country, at a felicitation ceremony organized by the country’s leading private bank, HNB.

Recognising their outstanding performances – which included securing Gold and Bronze medals and establishing a new world record – HNB’s Sustainability Foundation presented plaques and cash rewards to the award winning athletes, coaches and officials who were part of the delegation.

The felicitation ceremony, held at HNB Towers, the Bank’s head office was attended by HNB Managing Director /CEO – Jonathan Alles, Chief Transformation Officer/DGM – L Chiranthi Cooray, Deputy General Manager –Retail & SME Banking – Sanjay Wijemanne and HNB Sports Club President/AGM Hisham Ally, as well as National Paralympic Committee (NPC) of Sri Lanka Honorary President, Lieutenant Colonel Deepal Herath and other officials.

“You have scaled mountains that others only dream of conquering,” HNB Managing Director/CEO, Jonathan Alles said, congratulating the members of the delegation. “We, at HNB draw inspiration from your achievements and hope that the country’s youth and new generation of athletes too will do the same. Sports can help develop qualities which are essential for organizations, particularly teamwork and the country will benefit from youth taking a greater interest in sports activities.”

The highlight of the event was the felicitation of Dinesh Herath – who won Gold in Men’s Javelin Throw F46 – and Samitha Dulan Kodithuwakku – the Bronze medallist in the Men’s Javelin Throw F64. Herath is also the first Sri Lankan to win an Olympic or Paralympic Gold and set a new world record in his event.

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