Sand mining: decision on vulnerable areas soon | Daily News

Sand mining: decision on vulnerable areas soon

The Irrigation and Water Resources and Disaster Management Ministry will take a decision on areas that are vulnerable to sand mining near rivers by December this year, Ministry Secretary Eng. N. A. Sisira Kumara said.

Kumara said the ministry is conducting an investigation to identify locations where sand mining is taking place near rivers.

The Ministry Secretary was addressing a press briefing at the Irrigation and Water Resources and Disaster Management Ministry premises on Tuesday.

He was speaking with reference to the recent saltwater intrusion into Kalu Ganga that occurred due to dry weather.

“There are certain locations at rivers where excessive sand mining takes place, which results in adverse environmental effects. By December this year, we will decide on the areas in rivers where sand mining should or should not take place. Then, we will ban sand mining in identified river areas,” the Ministry Secretary said. Kumara said the Irrigation Department is conducting a study to set up a blocking structure to prevent saltwater intrusion into Kalu Ganga. Saltwater intrusion covers a 17 km spread in Kalu Ganga at present.

“However, it is no easy task. It is a decision that should be taken after considering a number of sensitive issues and technicalities regarding the condition. For example, the area near Kalu Ganga is exposed to heavy flooding. The blocking structure may cause floods later. Therefore, we cannot rush into things. We need to take a carefully calculated decision,” he said. Kumara added that excessive sand mining in rivers causes saltwater intrusion, which is the case in Kalu Ganga.

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