- The beach nourishment project of the Mt Lavinia beach does not merit urgency
- Dredging too close to the shore could eventually collapse the reef
By Sheain Fernandopulle
The Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) has raised concerns, that the ongoing extension of the Mt Lavinia beach under the beach nourishment project was being carried out with a lack of environmental and social consideration.
In a letter to the Director General of the Coast Conservation Department and Coastal Resource Management, the CEJ raised the issue as a matter of concern.
“We have learned that the beach nourishment project has been completed at Angulana, and at the Kalutara Calido Beach.
“We are reliably informed that sand for the project is being extracted from the sea at Ratmalana,” the organisation said.
According to the CEJ at least eight-hundred-thousand cu. mtrs of sand was being mined for the project and dredging activities carried out between the second and third reef, ie between the Palagala and Degalmeda reefs.
It said the whole of the reef lagoon up to the 1st reef that runs parallel to the shore from Mt. Lavinia to Galle Face would be filled with sand in the process.
The organisation stressed, experienced divers claimed, the outer drop-off of the reef is approximately 15-20 feet deep and would result in the destruction of the natural coast protection barrier by overrunning and destroying the reef.
If the dredging activities take place too close to the shore the organisation claimed, the seafloor inclination would increase further, resulting in sand sliding, which in turn could collapse of the reef.
The NGO warned this would destroy fishing habitats, similar to what happened due to sand pumping for the Colombo Port City project.
The organisation said it recognised the urgency in rebuilding the Kalutara Calido Beach which it charged was destroyed by irresponsible actions of officers of the Kalutara District Secretariat.
But, the CEJ claimed, the beach nourishment project of the Mt Lavinia beach did not merit urgency.
The CEJ emphasised the project should have been carried out only after an Environment Impact Assessment had been carried out and clearance obtained from the Director General of the Coast Conservation in terms of Section 14 of the Coast Conservation and Coastal Resources Management Act.