Although the Minister of Port and Aviation claimed that the Sea Plane Project would bring no destruction to Negombo Lagoon, dredging process of the Lagoon started at the end of November, without proper procedure such as Environmental Impact Assessment and consultation with the affected people.
On 17 November 2010, fishermen association and human rights activists organized a protest against the damage of Negombo Lagoon, with participation of around 1,000 protestors, including fishermen, religious leaders and human rights workers. Although the construction of the sea plane landing port has been halted, it is temporary only.
On 18 November 2010, Defence Minister Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the president's younger brother, expressed that he could have ordered Navy to disperse the crowd. He added that the government would continue the construction “at any cost”.
The project, as part of the Mahinda Chinthanaya development programme, is expected to provide sea planes to promote tourism in areas which are difficult to reach (AsiaNews). Hence, the Sea Plane Project is likely to introduce construction of other tourist facilities which will imperil the Lagoon further by waste, noise and water pollution, affecting the valuable ecological system as well as livelihood of the fisherfolks and fishing-related economy in Negombo Lagoon area.
Please write polite letters expressing your concern about the imminent destruction of environment of Negombo Lagoon and the livelihood of local people in Negombo. Urge the authorities to terminate the Sea Plane Project in Negombo Lagoon and withdraw all machines from the Lagoon area.
"If we lose the lagoon, we¡¦re ready to die...... [The Lagoon is] already so overcrowded and hard to work," a fisherman said. Garment factories cluster around the lagoon is already polluting the water and the authorities have not addressed the problem so far. The Sea Plane Project will further contaminate the river. The fisherman added that if the project led to eviction of fishermen from the lagoon, they would be left with no livelihood.
Live Lanka Net,
Ada Derana and
National Fisheries Solidarity Movement.
News Source: www.acpp.org
Monday, 20 December 2010
20 December 2010