Meepe: another Uma Oya disaster?
August 21, 2017 04:33 pm
The Seethawaka Environmental Protection Association states that the villagers of Padukka, Meepe are being subjected to much distress owing to the rock quarries that are in operation on the Kithul Kanda rock.
A representative of the Association, Indika Wickramasinghe states that an entire side of the rock has by now been either blasted off or removed.
This large-scale mining activity and its consequent environmental damage have reportedly been going on for the past 4 years.
The quarries are said to be primarily supplying rocks and minerals for the Port City project.
The residents of the surroundings are now suffering from a shortage of drinking water, owing to the drying up of catchment areas; a consequence of the Kithul Kanda exploitation.
Indika Wickramasinghe explained that the pH level of the water had also been affected due to contamination with various chemicals.
Furthermore, the operation of the quarries has contributed to severe noise pollution, he added.
Wickramasinghe proceeded to state that that the dust particles added to the atmosphere had resulted in a high incidence of respiratory tract diseases among the populace.
16 rock quarries are currently said to be in operation across a region of about 3.5 square kilometres.
With the involvement of environmental organizations, protests had been launched in March 2017, demanding the termination of the unlawfully functioning quarries.
Although the quarries’ functions had temporarily been halted following the protests, 15 of the quarries had been regranted with permits, once again subjecting the citizens to hardship and distress.
Wickramasinghe pointed out that heavy rains, coupled with the intense mining, had resulted in landslides as well, putting the lives of human beings at risk.
He stated that no comprehensive assessment had been made prior to the issuing of permits by the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau.
Accordingly, he urged the authorities to take action and prevent the continuation of the aforementioned quarries which cause significant damage to both the environment and the villagers.
Chief Incumbent of the Sri Poorwarama Maha Viharaya of Uthumpe, Ven. Mahagama Hemathilaka Thero, in response to an inquiry made by Ada Derana, also reiterated Indika Wickramasinghe’s request from the authority to provide an immediate solution to the villagers suffering from the numerous problems caused by the exploiting of the Kithul Kanda rock in Meepe.