Following complaints from a CBO regarding the illegal construction of a house within the Thalangama wetland, EFL conducted a site visit. Approximately 118 hectares of the Thalangama wetland is an Environmental Protection Area (EPA) under the National Environmental Act and comes under the purview of the Central Environmental Authority. EFL was able to confirm that the illegal construction was taking place within the EPA and learned that it was being carried out despite repeated warnings issued by the CEA. EFL also learned that the owner of the house was the Administrative Assistant to the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Environment and Mahaweli Development.
In addition to the key role it plays in providing flood retention to the city of Colombo, Thalangama wetland hosts a vast amount of biodiversity, including migrant birds, small mammals such as fishing cats and a diverse array of dragonflies. Despite its protected status, Thalangama is threatened by garbage dumping and encroachment. EFL is currently in the process of writing to the relevant authorities and will proceed with litigation if the situation is not rectified.