Environment Protection played a major role long before CEA
Although the World Environment is not mentioned in Local Government
enactments, Local Authorities in Sri Lanka, were playing an important
role in the management and protection of the environment, long before
Central Environmental Authority was established in 1981, Secretary to
the Kurunegala Pradeshiya Sabha I. A. Bandara said at an awareness
programme organised by the Environmental Unit on “Role of Local
Government in the Management and Protection of Environment.”
“Before the Central Environmental Authority was set up, the main
statutory authorities which looked after the environmental aspects of
community life at local level were the Municipal Councils, Urban
Councils, Town Councils and Village Councils,” Bandara added.
At the time, there was no need to pay special attention to
environment as such, however, matters related to the environment were
implemented through activities on environmental sanitation, public
health, road development, drainage, physical planning, regulation of
dangerous and offensive trades and control of unauthorised
During the last three decades ‘environment’ has become a very
important subject area which receives special attention, not only at
National level but at regional and International level.
The Secretary also observed that with the establishment of the
Central Environmental Authority in 1981 under the provisions of the
National Environmental Act No. 56 of 1980 and a special Cabinet Ministry
for Environment in 1990, the role of Local Authorities in management and
protection of environment at local level was receiving more recognition.
A scheme of decentralization of environmental functions was
formulated in 1993 and is being implemented, with the active
participation of the Local Authorities.
In order, to facilitate and strengthen the environmental role of
Local Authorities, some of the powers including the power to issue
Environmental Protection Licences for the low polluting industries, have
been delegated to Local Authorities by the Central Environmental
Authority in terms of Section 26 of the National Environmental Act.