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If the environment is not protected, the country will be a desert within the next 15 – 20 years, President Maithripala Sirisena said.

Therefore, the President requests all to fulfill their respective duties to prevent the country from becoming a desert as well as to ensure the right to live of all living beings including the animals.

The President made these remarks addressing a ceremony held at the Dunumadalawa Forest Reserve in Kandy yesterday (06) in view of the removal of pine trees in the forest reserve and commencement of local forest plantations.

The programme was titled as the ”Thuru Prajawa”. President Sirisena planted a Mee Tree in the Dunumadalawa forest reserve to mark this occasion.

Commenting further, President Sirisena said the forest cover in Sri Lanka, which is currently at around 28 percent, is decreasing annually by 1.5 percent.

Governor of Central Province Mr. Maithri Gunarathne, North Central Province Governor Mr. Sarath Ekanayake, Mayor of Matale Mr. Daljith Aluvihare, Deputy Mayor of Kandy Ms. Ilani Abdeen, Vice Chancellor of University of Peradeniya Prof. Upul Dissanayeka and several others were also present on this event.

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