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Removal of natural reef after submission of EFR

8 July 2016 07:27 am - 16     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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An Environmental Feasibility Report (EFR) is being drafted by the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development requesting the removal of the natural reef which claims to hinder the Dehiwela coastal line and to build a breakwater. Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Mahinda Amaraweera has requested for this report and after inspection, the Minister has suggested removing the reef and building a breakwater.

However, Mr. Amaraweera has also pointed out the risks that the people will face once the reef is removed. Therefore soil erosion will take place faster and many houses will be washed away. Once the report is submitted the Ministry will be allocating funds to remove the reef and to build a breakwater and allow the fishermen to engage in their activities.

Eminent environmental expert and systems ecologist Dr. Ranil Senanayake said that if this breakwater is removed Colombo will be losing its last environmental protection against the rising of the sea level. “The politicians don’t understand the gravity of its impact after it’s removed. For all these years, how did these boats leave to the sea? Why do they suggest that it should be removed all of a sudden? This is completely ridiculous and if future there will be many adverse impacts on climate change if such an action is being taken.”

Aruna Roshantha of the All Ceylon Fisheries Union said that removing the natural breakwater is not a wise thing to be done. “Fishermen too have their own experiences. If they claim it to be a barrier for them, then the authorities should ensure that they develop favourable conditions for the fishermen to do their fishing. Some of them do fishing during the night and during the days of rough tides, there could be an added risk.

According to the fishermen this reef has caused many deaths while on their voyages and has imposed a huge risk on their lives. So far 6 fishermen have lost their lives as a result of their boats hitting the reef and eventually capsizing. However, the Daily Mirror also learned that over the years, the fishermen have been taking their boats out to the sea through a place named ‘kadamaththa’, a U-shaped inversion that has been designed for this purpose. Yet, during the night fishermen usually forget where they have to leave from and at times they are under the influence of alcohol.

A few days back a protest was held by a group of fishermen blocking the railway lines in Dehiwela and requesting the authorities to remove the reef that is obstructing their day-to-day activities. The issue was taken in to consideration by the Minister two months ago and after his visit to the area he has decided to remove the reef and build a breakwater to reduce the rising sea level.

A meeting will be held today at the Ministry to discuss about the removal of the reef with the presence of the Minister and the fishing community. (Kamanthi Wickramasinghe)

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  Comments - 16

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  • Ajja Monday, 11 July 2016 08:04 AM

    What a foolish thing to destroy the reef,instead of breaking it fix floating lighting bollards along the reef.I have seen this in the Middle East-Oman.

    Don Friday, 08 July 2016 04:35 PM

    Why not leave the technical decisions with the technical experts.

    galleguy Monday, 11 July 2016 09:47 AM

    maalu karayo kiyana thaleta natanna giyoth hari shok.

    lkboy Friday, 08 July 2016 05:19 PM

    Utter madness!

    Dee Friday, 08 July 2016 09:18 AM

    Next these 'poor' fishermen will 'demand' for alternate housing. Once received, will rent it out and come baxk to the beach again and 'demand' more.

    Ratnam Monday, 11 July 2016 09:07 PM

    Minister mahadenamuththa. Follow him professionals. We r there 2 pay taxes tighten belts.

    Ranil Friday, 08 July 2016 10:26 AM

    All the fisherman know that there is only 1 entry exit point in the reef and for generations they have been using it. Widen that area without trying to remove 2-3km of natural reef and cause a massive disaster.

    kan Friday, 08 July 2016 11:27 AM

    A naive decision, if followed will see disasters upon disasters in Dehiwela, Wellawatta and Bambalapitiya coaster line. Impact of Port city is yet to be seen in a few years time, public will regret but not politicians who are law unto themselves.

    Crazy Friday, 08 July 2016 11:50 AM

    Why risk more sole erosion? This is mad. Will the residents be given compensation for the erosion that will take place? How long they have been fishing at this location and they now do not know how to stay clear from the natural reef?

    Fazal Sheriff Friday, 08 July 2016 11:50 AM

    Please do not interfere with mother nature. Leave reef as is. Mankind has interfered with nature and has always come second !!! Let's learn from past mistakes around the world when it comes to coastal erosion caused by rising sea levels.

    Henry Friday, 08 July 2016 12:17 PM

    A natural reef would take hundreds of years to establish, destroying would take only a couple of months! All over the world these reefs are well protected and our billy goats plans to destroy them! What a pathetic situation!!

    matipahana Friday, 08 July 2016 12:46 PM

    Removal of natual reef is a stupid thing to do. Relocating these fishing-folks is the sensible thing to do.

    HF Tuesday, 12 July 2016 02:19 PM

    Wise decision would be to lay out "buoys" and lighted pathway lines in the sea to guide vessels/boats for safer maneuvering.

    Manel Friday, 08 July 2016 01:10 PM

    The consequences of reef removal are as follows. 1. Removal of natural barrier to break the forces of oncoming waves will result in beaches being washed way. 2. When the beaches are washed away the topography of the coastal belt will change resulting in further beach erosion even in locations 30-40 km away.3. This was why removal of coral from reefs along the southern coast for lime (used for house construction) was banned some time ago.4. In case of occurrence of a tsunami there will be no barrier to break the force of water rushing in.5. To build breakwaters boulders will be required and Sri Lanka being a small country (area wise) boulders will have to be imported from foreign countries and this will cost dearly to the country and people. Therefor leave the reef as it is.

    Piyumi Fernando Friday, 08 July 2016 01:11 PM

    Removal of a natural reef? Who's mad idea is this? Let the fishermen find another solution instead of destroying the nature.

    Lalith Saturday, 09 July 2016 10:23 AM

    There are major benefits - votes of the fishing community AND commissions from the construction project!


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