New Act to make penalties for nature vandalism ten times higher

Mahinda Amaraweera

The government would enhance the penalties for destroying the environment under the new National Environmental Act currently in the pipeline, Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera yesterday said, adding that penalties for such offences would be increased 10 times.

“Environmental destruction is a grave crime like murder. Those who protect the environment would be rewarded.

An awards ceremony will be held to give them national recognition.”

Amaraweera said that 107,000 saplings had been planted countrywide during the last four months under the Husma Dena Thuru tree planting programme.

The National Tree Planting Programme, which he launched as the Minister of Environment, had become very popular, the Minister said.

“When I became the Minister of Environment, I introduced 20 environmental programmess including Haritha Hetak, the most important among them being the Husma Dena Thuru, tree planting programme. Under this we have set a target of planting two million saplings in the next four years.

A human being needed 550 litres of oxygen. One person needs at least 10 trees to produce this amount of oxygen. Some people cannot appreciate this fact and do not plant at least one tree during their lifetime, the Minister observed.

Amaraweera said trees were worshiped by our ancestors because they knew the value of trees.

(Source: The Island – By Ifham Nizam)