The Young Biologists’ Association in collaboration with Leo Club of Colombo Knights has organized a Sri Pada cleanup project on March 26 and 27. The annual cleanup is happening for the fourth successful year.
Reaching up to 2,243 meters above sea level, Sri Pada is venerated by Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians alike. Sri Pada is a catchment area of the 10 major rivers including Kelani, Kalu and Walawe. It is also a major water source for the Mahaweli, the longest river in the country which springs from Horton Plains. It is not only the religious and watershed values but also its forest cover that makes the site important. Sri Pada holds its unique environmental value as well.
A formation of tropical lowland, sub montane and montane rain forest and natural grassland, Sri Pada forest or the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary spreads over 22,380 hectares. Declared a sanctuary on October 10, 1940 it is home to a huge number of fauna and flora, including 24 endemic species of birds (18 listed as endangered in the IUCN, Red Data List) and other threatened animals such as leopards, elephants, some rare amphibians, insects, fish and reptiles. The Department of Wildlife protects this range with officers posted at two stations, Sri Palabaddala and Nallatanniya.
Many local and foreign visitors visit the site due to its cultural importance and significance as a travel destination. This also gives rise to the biggest cause of pollution at Sri Pada; the garbage. Garbage has been an issue for the last decade or more. The pilgrims are fully responsible for the destruction caused by polythene to this heritage site. On either side of the trek, all the way to the peak, garbage litters the path. It gets worse at the top, where a pile of garbage is located smack in the middle of the temple.
However, no garbage bins could be seen, nor is there a proper cleaning mechanism. It has been a top priority of the environmentalist and conservationists to contribute their strength to the cleaning project held at the ‘Sri Pada Adawiya’ (Adams Peak) Sanctuary. Such projects are held randomly during the pilgrimage period, when garbage poses a threat to the environment.
Taking environment damage into consideration, the Young Biologists’ have come up with a Sri Pada Polythene Removal Campaign (for the fourth time) in association with Leo Club of Colombo Knights. The Young Biologists’ Association and Leo Club of Colombo Knights consist of a team of youth that are dedicated to the protection of the environment. The past members of the Young Biologists’ Association consist of great environmentalists who are devoted to the protection of the Environment. One such example is Dr. Sampath Wahala, an external Environmental consultant and a lecturer at the Sabaragamuwa University, who was our founder President of the YBA.
Undergraduates of Forestry and Environmental Science Society of University of Sri Jayewardenepura will also lend their support to this year’s project. An awareness poster campaign and public awareness campaign about the detrimental effects polythene will run parallel with the project. As a part of this campaign pilgrims will get a small bag to put their own litter in.
For more information contact Sajith Harshana – 0773 755216, Dulanjaya Chamal – 0775 880212, Buddhi De Silva – 0772 324294, Oshadhi Peris – 0770 753690 or contact via Facebook Message YBA (Young Biologists’ Association) or Leo Club of Colombo Knights #Event https://www.facebook.com/events/575321259310722/
Day1 (March 26): Research and study
Day2 (March 27): Conservation and Awareness Project