Govt allocates Rs. 450m for Green Club initiative | Sunday Observer

Govt allocates Rs. 450m for Green Club initiative

Minister Mangala Samaraweera
Minister Mangala Samaraweera

The government has placed emphasis on maintaining environmental sustainability and creating green surroundings for the generations to come. It has made an effort to launch the Green Club concept to manage the environment amidst socio economic development activities that may have a negative impact which in turn poses challenges for human existence.

“The environment is challenged when socio economic development takes place. The government has taken measures to ensure the sustainability of the environment and plans to set up green clubs with the participation of civil society, including children, elders and volunteers. It has allocated Rs. 450 million for this initiative. However, the government has allocated Rs. 15 billion through the budget for environment related sustainable measures,” Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera said at the launch of the Green Clubs initiative in Colombo last week.

The initiative is supported by the 334 Divisional Secretariats which will cover 14,000 villages across the island. Measures will be taken to set up community-based green clubs in all Divisional Secretariats to increase the green environment in the country, he said.

The government plans to increase forest cover up to 32 percent by 2030 to enable a positive impact on the environment.

The government has implemented 60 percent of the 84 budget proposals and 16 proposals are yet to be implemented. Among the proposals is a collective effort to save the earth. The green club concept will address climate change, forest cover increase, reduction of green gas emissions and excessive use of polythene and plastics, he said.

“Though Sri Lanka is an attractive country for tourists whether it will it remain the same is a question due to the rapid pollution that is taking place. We need to produce a generation which will preserve the environment. The green club concept is aimed at this, and we are formulating a Green Club Act to ensure environmental sustainability. To this end, systematic tree planting and setting up of green gardens with the support of civil society will be encouraged,” he said.

There will be a steering committee comprising national level representatives. Among the activities planned for green clubs are replanting native trees in forests and nature reserves, cleaning beaches, cleaning river banks and tank banks, promoting customary eco friendly life styles, including household waste management and encouraging recycling and waste management. It also plans to provide education to promote an eco friendly lifestyle, reducing the use of single use plastics and proper waste disposal. This can include various activities, such as lectures, seminars, screenings on health impact of garbage and polluted air.

There will be progress review and monitoring sessions to ensure the desired results are achieved.

Acting UN Resident Coordinator Razia Pendse said, the fast changing climate and weather patterns have badly affected agriculture and measures taken to mitigate the impact will benefit society. It is important to preserve the environment as socio economic development has created an adverse effect on our planet. Measures taken to mitigate climate change and initiatives taken to ensure a green environment are the need of the hour.

One of the UN sustainable development goals (SDG) which addresses environment sustainability, could be achieved through the Green Club initiative that Sri Lanka plans to launch and this effort will positively impact the environment in the long run, she said.

The green club initiative will begin within the next two months to make Sri Lanka greener.