Importance of strengthening National Environmental Policy Act stressed | Daily News

Importance of strengthening National Environmental Policy Act stressed

Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera emphasized the importance of strengthening the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to minimize adverse environmental impacts in the country.

He said the National Environmental Policy emphasizes caring for the country’s environment as it is a bounded duty of all institutions whether it is government or non-government or any individual who carry out activities that create an impact on the environment.

He said the Environmental Policy includes laws and policies regarding water and air pollution, chemical and oil spills, smog, drinking water quality, land conservation and management and wildlife protection such as the protection of endangered species.

“NEPA empowers local communities to protect themselves and their environment from dangerous federal projects and often provides a forum for citizens to engage with major federal actions that affect their health, well-being and the environment,” he said.

Accordingly, the Minister has already taken measures to add some important amendments to the existing National Environment Act, so that environmental pollution that is taking place all over the country could be minimized to a greater extent and create a pollution free environment. Speaking to ‘Daily News Business’ Minister Amaraweera mentioning the current National Environment Act said it has been amended on a number of occasions considering the existing natural and man-made pollutants that have taken place in the country.

Accordingly, the Act No. 47 of 1980 was amended in the years 1988, 2000, 2018 and 2019 after a careful study of the country’s environmental pollution caused from time to time due to various reasons which were reported from many parts of the country. The Minister further said the purpose of bringing an NEPA and also making amendments was to encourage productivity and enjoy harmony between man and his environment to prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and also to the health and welfare of man.

“As we are aware, many institutions in the country, educationalists, organizations who love the environment and also university students who are pursuing higher studies on the environment are currently conducting research on various topics related to the country’s environment,” he said.

Minister Amaraweera said protecting the environment is very important and even new amendments that will be brought in future will increase more penalties and fines for those who destroy the environment purposely because everybody’s wish is to make a pollution free Sri Lanka since it will help to create a healthy society. He said to strengthen the Policy the Environment Ministry has already submitted a Cabinet Memorandum in this regard.

Minister Amaraweera also highlighted the damages caused to the country’s environment due to using non-degradable plastic and polythene and said during the last few years the Environmental Authority banned manufacturing, distributing and selling such non-degradable plastic and polythene goods as well the commonly used lunch sheets.

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