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President's second term inauguration:

Over 1 m saplings to be planted

As part of the events to mark the inauguration of the second term of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his birthday, 1.1 million saplings will be planted on November 15.

"This islandwide tree planting campaign will be held on November 15 to mark the second term inauguration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa," Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa told media chiefs at the Environment Ministry yesterday.

"This will be a nationally important occasion to Sri Lanka," he said.

Explaining the objective of this national event, the Minister said this decision was taken to make the public aware about the importance of preserving the country's rich vegetation.

"Due to the 30 year conflict our flora and fauna was severely damaged and neglected.

It is now time to pay serious attention on the natural environment and make Sri Lanka an environment friendly country," he added.

Sri Lanka is a prominent among countries practicing conservation.

Therefore, this project will be success as most Sri Lankans love their natural environment, he said. Responding to a question by a journalist, he said planting 1.1 million trees will be a Guinnes world record feat .

No records have yet been found that any country has planted such a large number of trees at once, he said.

Central Province Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake said all Government and private institutions together with schools in the Central province have pledged their fullest support to this national task. They are collecting saplings to be planted and make the Central province people aware about the importance of the campaign.

According to a Mahinda Chintana policy pledge, Sri Lanka would be made a green country soon. The Government is endevouring to make this a success. This is the first step in achieving this goal, he said.

North Central Chief Minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake, Sabaragamuwa Province Chief Minister Maheepala Herath and Environment Ministry Secretary S. Samarathunga also participated.

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