Our members (RanilP) has sent the below note and pictures regarding the crisis at Bellanwila-Aththidiya wet land
I thought you might like some material on environmental pollution. I pass the Pepiliyana Road regularly I have sent notes to local authorities but what's new no action. In fact the running fence (duwana weta) theory works here. Over the last couple of years this open stretch of road has been gradually encroached up on. Recently a dredger was seen dredging the channel you see in the pictures and the plastic bottles surfaced a few days later. The green roofed building is the Mlesna Tea bagging factory which appears to have also encroached into the Marsh. I suspect that the lands on either side of this lowland marsh were filled by people who have dumped rubbish over the years and the dredger may have unearthed this rather sordid sight.
You will observe the rubbish dumped on one side of the temporary bridge every now and then I notice a JCB is brought to level out the rubbish and this acts as land fill and then someone settles there by first building temporary shelters. Then behind a polythene cover permanent structures are erected. I am sure they have no title to these lands, but somehow they get electricity connections, assessment numbers, addresses etc?Attidiya
A similar situation along the Attidiya Road s seen, I think it might make a good feature to do a researched article on the Marshes of Colombo, crown lands now encroached and leading to an environmental catastrophe. Other such situation prevail behind the Castle Maternity Hospital and Model Farm Road, near the temple of Pelpola Vipassi Thero. Off the Ethul Kotte Road, Rajagiriya Road, Pipe Road etc all part of the Diyawanna Oya. The Waters Edge, Diyawanna Oya?? (not damaging to the environment but actually allows the area to act as a sponge and water retention... As well as a refuge for fauna and flora).
Here at Attidiya is another encroachment issue. This is more serious. Because the encroachers have occupied land directly in front of 2 state buildings namely the Land Reclamation Office and the Sirimavo B Police Academy, and the buildings and so called environmental restaurant is on either side of a Board erected by the DWL stating that it is a protected area etc as you can see in the picture. I cannot believe that it is permitted and it is an indicator of the absolute lethargy and disregard for law enforcement in our country. I have often contemplated taking legal action on this, I am convinced though there is collusion by the police DWL and political patronage. The eco rest is just a farce, they serve Kola Kande and have grown trees and made ponds and make a pretense of being environmentally friendly. The fact is they don't have title to the land! But behind it all trucks and tractors fill land little by little, going deeper into the Attidiya Reserve. One of the buildings is even advertising that the buildings are for rent!!
The question is what are the DWL doing about it? Why have they not stopped it? What is local government doing? What is the Land Recl.... Doing? What are the police who have their academy across the road doing?
These and so many such things bring so much frustration, we must be foolish when we hope that things can be made different.
Please look into The encroachment of marsh lands and I can assure you that Pepiliyana and Attidiya are both creeping disasters.Pepiliyana Road PicturesAththidiya Road Pictures