The Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera stated that there are 1374 waste disposal sites in the Kelani River area from Seethawaka to Peliyagoda.

The Minister expressed these views while participating in an inspection tour of the Kelani River to identify the places where the Kelani River is polluted. The observation tour was organized in collaboration with the SL Navy, the Central Environmental Authority and a number of other agencies.

The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) has conducted an island-wide survey covering the entire river system of our country and according to the results of that survey the Kelani River is the most polluted river in our country and more than 80 percent of the population of Gampaha and Colombo meet their drinking water needs from this river. The Minister stressed.

The Minister further said-

So far no country in the world has implemented programs to conserve the entire river system in their country. Only the river Ganga was conserved by the Government of India under the Pavitri Ganga program. Singapore is just one river. However, we have focused on the conservation of all 103 rivers in our country under the Surakimu Ganga program launched by the Ministry of Environment.

The government allocated Rs.200 million was provided for this purpose in 2021. Also, for 2022 that amount has been increased to Rs. 2000 million.

There are 103 rivers in our country. According to the island wide survey conducted by the Central Environmental Authority, 10,733 places are reported to be polluting the entire river system.

The Kelani River is the most polluted river in our river system. It was confirmed that the Kelani River collects pollutants at 1374 places including 797 polluting sites in the Colombo city area and 577 places in the Gampaha district.

Therefore, I suggested that steps be taken to give priority to the Kelani River next year under the Surakimu Ganga program. We also give priority to the conservation of the Menik River and the Walawe River. Accordingly, out of the funds allocated for the year 2021 this year, we have allocated funds for financial projects in all 24 districts. However, we are implementing a number of projects that will affect the purification of the Kelani River by 2022. That is why this observation tour is being conducted today, said the Minister.

The Minister also said that a special program will be launched to control the discharge of waste into the Kelani River from the Seethawaka Industrial Zone. (