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Plant a sapling when a child is born, plant a tree for the death of a friend: Mangala appeals

Mangala Samaraweera

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera has urged the people to plant a sapling when a child is born and show it to him on his 18th birthday. They will be eco-friendly. Plant a tree for the death of a friend. People will volunteer to take care of it.

Mangala Samaraweera made this appeal while inaugurating the Green Club, a community based environmental protection program, recently at the Hilton in Colombo.

All Divisional Secretaries of the island participated in the program. Deputy Minister of Environment Ajith Mannapperuma, Secretary to the Treasury Dr. RHS Samaratunga, Senior Deputy Secretaries AR Deshapriya, AMPMB Atapattu and AK Seneviratne were also present.

In his key note address at the event, Mangala said:

"Preserving the environment has become one of the world's main topics. This is the number one topic discussed in advanced countries. The era of invasion of countries by other countries in the world is over. Instead, there has been another invasion. That is the invasion of polythene and plastic.

Recently, I saw a herd of elephants eating polythene. Those sad scenes brought to my mind many problems. Sri Lanka has been named the best destination for world travel. The world was interested in Sri Lanka in the 18th and 19th centuries to write books. Today, a similar interest has arisen in the world about visits to Sri Lanka.

After the Easter Attacks, many of us thought that it would not be easy to rebuild tourism. We also believe it will take a long time. But according to some travel magazines around the world, Sri Lanka is still the world's number one tourist destination after the bombing. But it is doubtful whether that will last long.

On a holiday like Sunday, heaps of trash are found on Sri Lankan beaches. Some tourists clean them up but sadly some of us wait for them to be overseen. But we should give our children a formal knowledge about this from an early age. We need to create a new generation who love the environment. That is what the Green Societies are trying to do.

We are preparing to present the Green Society Act in Parliament with the intention of taking the environment protection forward, whichever party comes to power. Protection of the environment is not government's responsibility alone. From the school child to the pensioner should contribute. Through the concept of a local green garden, we are ready to introduce a voluntary environment protection system.”



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