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Going green to regain our Paradise - EDITORIAL


13 December 2015 07:36 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


ne of the National Unity Government’s New Year gifts for Sri Lanka will be a comprehensive plan to produce the food we need in Sri Lanka itself without depending on imported junk foods and processed rubbish for which our country has been a dumping ground during the past 40 years.
President Maithripala Sirisena who is giving personal leadership to this mission is expected to work on the basis of the mid-term economic strategy outlined by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on November 5 and the budget proposals presented by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake on November 20.

As a first step towards gradually switching to organic agriculture, as a major part of Sri Lanka’s contribution towards environmental conservation, the government has decided to give cash vouchers to farmers instead of imported agro-chemicals, some of which are known to be toxic. This will give farmers the freedom to produce or buy organic fertilizer. After about four decades of using or abusing chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, the farmers may find it difficult to gradually switch to organic fertilizer. The overuse of imported agro-chemicals may produce big harvest but the damage done to Mother Earth and even our ground water and rivers are destructive if not eco-cide. We have been sowing the wind and now we are reaping the whirlwind.

The farmers need to be educated and should be made aware that looking for short-term benefits such as a good harvest could be a subtle form of selfishness because they are not concerned about the damage that polluted food is causing to society, with even children being forced to eat a little poison with every meal. Besides the excessive use of agro-chemicals, unscrupulous traders are known to use preservatives, flavour-enhancing substances and artificial sweeteners, some of which contain toxic substances.

In the afterglow of Saturday’s historic agreement at the climate summit in Paris, it is essential now for the government, civic action groups, religious movements end even families to do their own little bit to reduce global warming, pollution of Mother Earth and carbon dioxide emissions. One good example is the mission launched by the Oblate congregation. After visiting several districts of the Kuchchaveli area in August this year, members of the Oblates Missions have organized a livelihood project for the upliftment of the villagers by coordinating and organizing the collection of dried cow dung (organic) broken into powder, packeted in 1 kg packs and sent to Colombo for sale among plant nurseries and home garden lovers. The members of the Oblate Missions based at Fatima Church, Maradana are now selling these packets at a nominal cost and invite the people to patronize this mission and help the villagers sustain their livelihood. For more information and to place orders, please contact: on 0714263114 / 0718331238.

Also playing a major role in sustainable eco-friendly development for Sri Lanka is the Amuthu Amuthu Association headed by chartered architect Lalithraja Mutukumarana in cooperation with health education specialist Dr. Yasa Siriwardena and interior decorator Swarna Obeysekara. Mr. Muthukumarana in an action plan has proposed organic cultivation of flowers, foliage plants, vegetables, and fruits, on a large scale and home gardens, free of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. These products could be for local and export markets. We need to introduce composting techniques and herbal remedies for pest control. He calls for effective composting of the organic and recycling the other waste such as paper, glass and metal wherever possible. We need to encourage using bags and baskets made of local natural materials, in place of Polythene, while banning the Polythene usage and educating the people on the health hazards of plastic ware. Mr. Muthukumarana is also calling for training in-resource management to avoid wastage through a simple and humble lifestyle or ‘alpechchathavaya’ starting from households. He also calls for an effective storm and waste water drainage scheme and the setting up of health resorts in natural environments with herbal gardens, especially for cancer patients using natural herbal therapy.

We urge the government to give tax concessions and other incentives for those who are ready to go-green, starting with green schools, green homes, green workplaces and other buildings with rooftop gardens. Then instead of just regaining Sri Lanka we could regain our paradise.

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