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Protect country's natural beauty, says President

COLOMBO: The density of both natural and cultural assets in our small country is unique. The rich blend of natural wealth represents a microcosm of many large countries, as such we have to muster the support of all environmentalists, organisations and individuals to preserve and protect the natural beauty of our small island, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

This was in a message given to the officials of the Ministry of Environment by President Mahinda Rajapaksa when he met the officials of the Environment Ministry at the review meeting recently. The meeting was held to assess the work carried out by the Environment Ministry.

Sustainable management of natural resources is the need of the hour. Priority should be given to conserve and protect forests. Tree planting programmes should be initiated and cutting trees in the surrounding areas of fountain heads should be totally banned, a gazette notification should be issued to this effect, advised the President.

Looking ahead at the programmes which are lined up, the President said that priority should be given to making Colombo an eco friendly city, steps should be taken to minimise pollution, vehicles entering Colombo should be minimised and adequate parking spaces should be developed, thus we should make Colombo a clean and a hospitable city, added the President.

Plans are under way to develop the Colombo-Katunayake road and surrounding areas as Sri Lanka is scheduled to host the SAF games in August this year and premises of the Chiththa Vivekashramaya in Battaramulla is to be declared as a sanctuary and the Ritigala mountain is to be developed as a tourist location, Environment sources revealed.

A tree planting programme would be given priority at the 200 village programme which is to be initiated by the President this year.

Minister for Environment Maithripala Sirisena, Deputy Minister Pandu Bandaranayake, President's Secretary Lalith Weeratunga along with the officials of the Environment Ministry participated at this event.

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