Metal Quarry Destruction at Kithulkanda Halted
GSMB revokes 15 metal quarry licenses
Located on the outskirts of the Colombo district, Meepe has a lush rolling landscape of small hills thick with rich natural vegetation. These hills function as a main watershed for the series of small streams that supply water to the region and the communities that live in it.
One such hill is Kithulkanda, a mountain whose rich natural vegetation fosters a number of endemic species of flora and fauna, including the purple-faced langur. Kithulkanda is under threat, from 16 metal quarries that have demolished and destroyed half of the hillside. Members of the community protested outside the quarries, arguing that these metal quarries were not only a public nuisance causing villagers to be subject to dust and noise and damaged houses, but posed serious long term hazards. The destruction of half a mountain-side and its natural vegetation would inevitably affect the water supply in the area, as a key watershed was degraded.
On March 31st, in response to the protests of community members, the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau ( GSMB) announced that they would be cancelling 15 out of 16 licenses for metal quarrying in Kithulkanda.
Sri Lanka’s booming construction industry has created a demand for steel, but if the country is to develop sustainably, it is imperative that steel mining and quarrying is carried out in a sustainable manner that does not exploit and deplete finite natural resources, destroy rare biodiversity and endanger the lives of its citizens.