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Fire in Muthurajawela reserve destroys many acres of mangroves

A fire that has erupted in the Muthurajawela nature reserve has caused heavy damages to the mangrove lands and biodiversity surrounding the environment.

National Coordinator for the Center for Environment and Nature Studies, Ravindra Kariyawasam has said that the fire has destroyed close to four acres of mangroves in the nature reserve.

Kariyawasam has further noted that there is a belief that the fire has been set by some elements with the intention of encroaching on the lands in the nature reserve.

The area is also being used to dump garbage from the Wattala/Ja Ela/Ekala areas.

A Forest Department official, Devanee Jayathileka recently locked horns with political powers in the area to protest the mangroves in the area that is now affected by the fire.

Jayathileka spoke against attempts to destroy mangroves in the nature reserve in order to construct a playground.

“The mangrove land is a part of the forest reserve and we cannot allow it to be used for any type of construction. There are already illegal constructions and habitation in the forest reserve,” she charged, adding that Sri Lanka was already short of 10,000 hectares of mangrove land.