The forest density of the country has decreased during almost every single government in past. However, the President says that the country’s forest density has increased to a certain extent due to the program implemented during the last four years to protect the environment and increase the forest resources.
President Maithripala Sirisena made this observation addressing the inauguration of the ‘Wana Ropa’ National Tree Planting Program at the Habarana, Galoya Reserve this (12th) morning.
The President said that while all sectors of the country were plagued by corruption and politicians, racketeers, businessmen and public officials were responsible for the enormous environmental catastrophe that has taken place over the past few decades.
In parallel to the ‘Punarudaya’ National Environmental Protection Program which is being implemented by the Presidential Secretariat since 2015, the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and the Environment and Forest Department together with all government and non-governmental organizations launched the ‘Wana Ropa’ National Tree Planting Month in October.
The Forest Department is rehabilitating 100 hectares of forest in the Habarana Galoya Reserve, under the patronage of the Bank of Ceylon, to mark the 80th anniversary of the Bank of Ceylon. Its aim to plant 80,000 tree saplings covering 100 hectares of degraded dry areas.
The ‘Wana Ropa’ program is in line with the United Nations Climate Change Convention to increase the country’s forest cover to 32 percent by 2030 and has implemented several special projects this year to increase the country’s forest density.
President Sirisena planted a sapling in the reserve, starting the Tree Planting Month in this year.
The President signed declarations to name the Matale, Kandy, Kurunegala and Nuwara Eliya Districts, gazetting 9,900 hectares as protected forest and 14,800 hectares of mangroves as protected and reserve forests.
The President also signed a gazette notification announcing the reservation of the Galoya Reserve which is adjacent to the Colombo – Trincomalee highway in the Habarana area in the Polonnaruwa district.
The state Minister Mr. Ajith Mannapperuma, Mahaweli development and environmental Ministry, Director General Mr. W.A.C. Weragoda, Department of Forest Conservation, Central Bank Chairman President’s Counsel Mr Ronald C. Perera and several others were also present in this occasion.