Major challenges faced by the world today are the rise of global warming and climate changes which have a drastic impact on the activities of the people. As it has been estimated that the world population would increase by another 2 billion by the year 2050, it has become absolutely essential to control a further rise of world warming due to activities of this increased population. At the same time, climate changes are long-term changes in the earth’s climate, especially a change due to an increase in the average atmospheric temperature. Thus, it is incumbent on the present generation to employ appropriate measures to utilize limited natural resources of the world for a sustainable production process and consumption of future generations.
A Senior Technical Advisor of the Ministry of Environment, Prof. W.L. Sumathipala said that the main reason for the rise of global warming is greenhouse effect which warms the Earth’s surface.
“When the Sun’s energy reaches the Earth’s atmosphere, some of them reflect back to space and the rest is absorbed and re-radiated by greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases include water vapour, Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane, Nitrous Oxide, Ozone and some artificial chemicals such as Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). The human activities, like burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas), agriculture and land clearing are increasing the concentrations of greenhouse gases. This is the enhanced greenhouse effect, which is contributing to warming of the Earth,” Prof. Sumathipala said.
Thus, it is mostly applicable and opportune to adopt a blue-green development strategy for the sustainable development of Sri Lanka in order to provide a more fruitful, happy and healthy livelihood for the public. Sri Lanka is facing an abnormal situation due to climate changes.
Director of Climate Change in the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Sunimal Jayathunga said that the United Nations Conference on Climate Changes, (21 ‘Session of Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change - COP 21) was held in Paris from November 30 to December 11, 2015.
“As Sri Lanka is a signatory to these resolutions, we have to adopt all appropriate measures to curb the rise of global warming. Sri Lanka is a developing Island Nation which is highly vulnerable to adverse effect of climate change that affect all social, economical and development activities. It is noteworthy that productive steps needed to be taken in order to control climate changes,” he said.
Mr. Jayathunga said that an event called “SRI LANKA NEXT - A Blue Green Era” Conference and Exhibition would be held from October 16 to October 17 at BMICH under the aegis of the president Maithripala Sirisena and organized by Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment in line with the world’s interest on controlling climate changes .
The event also aims at gathering updated knowledge on local, regional and global efforts to address the issues on climate change and disseminate such knowledge to support the development agenda of Sri Lanka.
This blue-green development strategy could lead us in the following directions.
Geographically, Sri Lanka is positioned at a vantage point consisting marine resources in an extent of 532,619 sq km which is proposed to be extended up to 1,714, 687 sq.km, and an attractive and resourceful sea coast of 1 600 km. It is necessary to identify the sustainable development strategies to manage these marine resources without causing environmental pollution. Some development opportunities could be listed as follows:
Possibilities should be explored to research medicinal value of oceanic resources and developed to produce medicines for humans utilizing oceanic resources.
1 Oceanic Fish Resources: Efforts should be made to utilize these resources employing sustainable strategies.
2 Other Marine Biological Resources: Sri Lanka’s marine region consists of valuable resources including corals and other marine life arid priority should be given to maximize the use of these resources.
3 Oceanic Mineral Resources: Sri Lanka’s coast line, the ocean floor contains valuable mineral resources which can be converted to value added products for commercial purposes. Possibilities in this respect need to be explored.
4 Oceanic Navigation and Port Facilities: Economic prosperity could be achieved by developing oceanic navigation sea voyages and natural and modern sea ports in an Eco-friendly manner.
5Development of Tourism Industry Utilizing Coastal and Oceanic Resources: Encouragement of the development of tourism industry using sustainable and eco-friendly means should be considered in promoting Sri Lankan beaches rich in attractions and good climatic conditions and the oceanic floor with valuable resources.
Additional Executive of Environment Planning and Economics, Anuruddha Tennakoon said that the forests cover at present in Sri Lanka is 29.7% which had affected the rise of global warming in Sri Lanka.
“One of the key grounds for the global warming is insufficient forest cover in a particular region. As Sri Lanka is embroiled with climate changes and global warming, we have to address this issue quite positively in giving priority to regain the lost forest coverage. Therefore, we have planned to distribute 200,000 plants in this month of planting under the theme ‘Vana Ropa,” Mr. Tennakoon said.
He said that the plants especially indigenous plants are available in the Department of Forest Conservation until the end of the month of October and added if anybody wished to join us are mostly welcome.
It should be the fervent hope of all of us as Sri Lankans to concentrate on all aforementioned areas and effectively utilize all available strategies of ‘Blue-Green Development social and economic development for future of Sri Lanka. In doing so, attempts should be made to reduce emission of Green House Gases (GHG), polluted water as well as other pollutants that pollutes the environment. These will afford us sustainable development which in turn will make a happy and prosperous future generation, for which the world will respect Sri Lanka; the beautiful paradise.
1 Green Industrial Production: All Industrial productions should be made according to Eco-friendly standards for sustainability which in turn will provide economic benefits while protecting the environment.
2 Green Agriculture: Sustainability should be ensured by utilizing Eco-friendly means for the development of agriculture.
3 Green Energy: Utilization of environment friendly tools has to be encouraged for the production of green energy for the social and economic development of Sri Lanka.
4 Green Cities/Villages: Developers should be encouraged to utilize environment friendly standards for the construction of green cities and villages.