Feb 06, 2019

"Sinharaja road will aid bio-piracy" Featured

There is an grave bio-piracy attempt underway in Sri Lanka, says former Director of Customs, Samantha Gunasekara.

He said that these attempts involve smuggling abroad genes of plant and animal species native to Sri Lanka and obtaining patents for products made using these genetic material.

Mr. Gunasekara was speaking at a seminar held at the CSR today (06) organised by the Centre for Environment and Nature Studies (CENS).

He added that the road cutting through the Sinharaja reserve would be an added advantage to such smugglers.

Speaking at the seminar, environmentalist - Ven. Wekandawala Rahula Thera too, condemned the attempt to build a road through the forest reserve.

The Thera said that local authorities are cutting a road through a reserve named as a world heritage site while other countries are in the process of formulating new laws to safeguard their environment.

"The government says that this road existed from 1972. That is true. Back then, the forest wasn't named as a reserve or as a world heritage site as it is at the present. Therefore, saying the road existed in the seventies cannot be justified. After 1978, no construction can take place legally in this area," the Thera added.

"Another fact authorities point out is that this road would be beneficial to the residents and especially children in the area. However, only three families can travel on this road. One is the family of the famed Mr. Martin in the Sinharaja. Another is his daughter's. Mr. Martin has expressed his strong disapproval against the construction of the road and all three families have admitted that taking the road across the Kudawa village is more convenient. They also say that they will never allow their young children to take a road across a forest to school... So what the authorities say is not true." the Thera further added.

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