Father Reid Shelton Fernando, Colombo
Updated: January 22, 2021 10:15 AM GMT
Muthurajawela has a unique and diverse ecosystem. (Photo: Lanka Excursions Holidays)
At the start of this year, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo, the outspoken leader of the Sri Lankan Church, addressed environmental issues in his archdiocese regarding Muthurajawela, a wetland 30 kilometers north of Colombo. This marshland is notable for its unique and highly diverse ecosystem and is listed as one of the 12 priority wetlands in Sri Lanka.
Muthurajawela, which translates as “Swamp of Royal Treasure,” has a long history of 700 years. It covers 4,390 acres and while only 700 acres are earmarked for development, the project will have a drastic effect.
Prominent environmentalist Ven. Pahiyangala Ananda Sagara Thera joined the cardinal in speaking out against the Muthurajawela development project. Ven. Sagara Thera has condemned almost all destructive projects in the country, castigating rulers who make promises during election campaigns but act differently once they are in power.
The monk and the cardinal conducted a joint press conference against the development of this prime land, which was cultivated until the 1950s but later abandoned due to problems with water resources.