Sri Lanka invaded by plastics, grow trees with feeling: Mangala

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is being invaded by plastics, while forest cover is disappearing, requiring action to improve the environment, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said.

"In this day and age foreign countries are not trying to invade Sri Lanka," Samraweera told a gathering of district secretaries from around the country.

"We are being invaded by plastics."

He said economic development is followed by environmental degradation and protecting the environment and wildlife should be a top priority of policymakers.

The finance ministry is promoting ‘green clubs’ around the county to promote green activities as part of a budget 2019 initiative.

Samaraweera said towns should have a green area where people can go and plant a tree.

"We see today school children planting trees because the principle says, but there is no real feeling," he said.

"If we can get people to plant a tree for the birth of their child, or passing away of a loved one, we will have trees grown out of love.

"Imagine a child reaching 18 years seeing the big tree planted in his name."

This year 450 million rupees was allocated for the initiative.  Samaraweera said more will be allocated next year to continue the  program.

Treasury Secretary  R H S Samaratunga said money may not appear to be large by itself but Sri Lanka had a range of programs to protect the environment and reduce natural disaster risks.

Under several ministries, 15 billion rupees had been allocated for environmental related programs in 2019. (Colombo/July08/2019)