- Move aimed at providing more teeth to Central Environment Authority
The Cabinet of Ministers this week approved 42 amendments to the National Environmental Act (NEA) in order to give more teeth to the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) to effectively prevent widespread environmental damage in keeping up with recent developments.
On Monday, Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera sought Cabinet approval to amend the National Environment Act to include 42 new clauses to provide the CEA with sufficient authority to tackle widespread environmental issues in the present context.
Cabinet Co-Spokesperson and Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila yesterday revealed that the proposed amendments to the Act include various instruments and tools that would strengthen CEA in relation to safeguarding the environment.
Illustrating an example, he highlighted that once these amendments are passed in Parliament, the CEA would be able to impose charges on polluters across industries, which would discourage them to discharge high quantities of pollutants to the environment.
According to the Ministry of Environment, the National Environment Act has not been amended for over two decades.
The National Environmental Act, No. 47 of 1980 has been amended in 1988 and 2000 by National Environmental (Amendment) Act, No. 56 of 1988 and by National Environmental (Amendment) Act, No. 53 of 2000, respectively.
The proposed amendments would also impose strict punishments and fines on those who cause harm to the environment.