- Making Sri Lanka 300 plants stronger
The inauguration ceremony of the tree planting programme “The Endogreen” organised by the Diabetes and Endocrine Unit of the Colombo National Hospital Sri Lanka has been conducted successfully at the Viharamahadevi Park Colombo with the participation of Dr. Manilaka Sumanathilaka, Dr. Uditha Bulugahapitiya, and Dr. Sivatharshya Pathmanathan. All the members of the Unit participated in the event.
Project Endogreen was implemented in partnership with Reforest Sri Lanka, who have very actively and successfully implemented many tree planting projects over the years in collaboration with various public and private institutions. They believe we are a product of humanity’s greatest worth, hope. Endogreen, together with Reforest Sri Lanka also believes that, as Earth’s most intelligent species, we should act to protect all life on Earth.
Speaking to Medical Delegate Harish Kumar, who is a part of project Endogreen, he commented that, sadly, Earth’s devastation is also one of our own creations and it’s vital we correct our mistakes. “Society is constantly advocating a move towards a greener environment by creating awareness to the masses about the importance of environmental protection and the repercussions of deforestation.”
Conservation of the environment is enshrined in the constitution of Sri Lanka and the State has pledged to protect, preserve, and improve the endowment for the benefit of the community. Project Endogreen aspires to plant a total of 300 tree saplings. Kumar informed us that 20 tree saplings will initially be planted in Viharamahadevi Park and Colombo Municipal Council areas. The balance 280 tree saplings will be evenly planted in locations along the expressways. If necessary, more can be planted at the Kalu River or surrounding expressways as well. There will be a total of five planting sessions taking place across five days, of which the first successfully commenced without any challenges. Kumar hopes that the future tree planting sessions will also be successfully conducted without any hiccups or interference. They can only hope that these trees that have already been planted will be allowed to grow without any vandalism or destruction.
Sharing the reason behind the initiation of this project, Kumar stated that Sri Lanka is known to be blessed with a diverse range of forest cover; however, recent studies and reports indicate that there is severe deforestation and encroachment. Development projects and private agricultural ventures seem to be the main reasons. Deforestation is one of the most serious environmental issues in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka’s current forest cover, as of 2017, was 29.7%. In the 1920s, the island had a 49% forest cover but by 2005 this had fallen by approximately 26% (29.46% in 2018). However, with a long history of policy and laws towards environmental protection, deforestation rates of primary cover have actually decreased 35% since the end of the 1990s thanks to a strong history of conservation measures. Aside from the environmental implications, deforestation in Sri Lanka has caused flooding, landslides, and soil erosion from exposure of the deforested areas. It is also the primary threat to the survival of Sri Lanka’s biodiversity.
Through project Endogreen, Kumar explained that the College of Endocrinologists aims to take a participatory approach and seeks to contribute in conservation efforts by replanting, thereby offsetting the deforestation rates in the country.
He added that the main goal of this project is to help reduce the impact of deforestation, mitigate climate change, and prevent soil erosion and pollution while adopting an integrated approach for the management of the trees planted through project Endogreen in collaboration with public and private entities such as Reforest Sri Lanka and the Road Development Authority (RDA), who will assist on the maintenance of the trees planted.
Through this project, they will be planting neem trees, which have valuable medicinal properties, reduce soil erosion, and are ideal for urban tree planting; mee trees, of which all parts of the tree are used in herbal medicinal preparations, and also release oxygen during the day and night; nellie trees, that have inherent health benefits, are low maintenance, and require minimal care with long life periods; and lastly, kumbuk trees, of which the roots are capable of water retention and also assist in water purification which give them a long period of life. Currently, the planting of these trees are in the process of completion.