President Maithripala Sirisena emphasized the need for fulfilling the responsibilities and duties by everybody towards the environmental conservation for the future of the nation, and pointed out the importance of working within a national plan to achieve these goals.
He made these remarks addressing the 13th Session of the Environmental Council held at the auditorium of the Central Environmental Authority, yesterday (19).
The President instructed the officials to promptly formulate the relevant policy plan to actively and effectively implement the initiatives of the Environmental Council.
The President also instructed the officials to submit the draft plan by the first week of February 2018.
President Sirisena also emphasized the need for the Central Environmental Authority and the Environmental Council to constantly focus on the environmental damages and also explained the need of quick enforcement of laws against those who cause damages to the environment.
Expressing his views regarding the media reports published repeatedly about the Wilpattu reservations, the President said that it is the responsibility of the relevant institutions to look into the allegations immediately when they receive such information. The President also said that if there is any mistake, it should be corrected promptly, otherwise the correction should be done in those media reports.
The President said that any public servant should not fear to take decisions within the limits of National Environmental policy and said that as the President of the country he took the Ministry of Environment under his charge in order not to allow anyone to challenge any decisions taken regarding environment conservation.
He also pointed out the need of constant vigilance when issuing licenses by the Environmental Authority and its relevant agencies and said it is the responsibility of all relevant institutions not to allow any racketeer to destroy the environment.
During this meeting Prof. U.A. Chandrasena of the University of Kelaniya was selected as the new Chairman of the Environmental Council.
The President also appreciated the service rendered by the environmental lawyer Jagath Gunawardena during his last year’s tenure as the Chairman of the Environment Council.
Secretary for the Ministry of Mahaweli Development & Environment, Anura Dissanayake, Prof. Lal Mervin Dharmasiri, Chairman of Central Environmental Authority, environmental lawyer Jagath Gunawardena, environmentalists and members of the Environmental Council participated on this occasion.