Assessing the Impacts of the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant


Project PeriodFebruary 2020 – February 2021

Funded by Ramsar Regional Center – East Asia

The Norochcholai Coal Power Plant (NCPP) is located in the village of Narakkalli and Penaiyadi nearNorochcholai, within the Puttalam District, on the West coast of Sri Lanka. The power plant was proposed by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) in 1995 and construction of the facility began in2007. It was constructed in 3 phases and completed by September 2014 with a total power generation of 900 MW, with a new 300MW extension approved to be added before 2023.
NCPP poses irreversible grave impacts to the health, safety, and livelihoods of surrounding communities and causes irreparable damage to the environment, both land, and sea, a few of which are highlighted below. The impact is however not limited to its immediate vicinity as the toxic emissions travel to other parts of the island as well. To investigate the negative effects of the power plant on the surrounding environment, experts on soil, ground and surface water and ambient air are conducting studies and running tests on the quality of the said parameters. In terms of the human health that is equally affected by the NCPP, a pre-medical survey was carried out to investigate health implications arising from the power plant and to identify prevalent morbidities in the neighboring communities.

In collaboration with the Department of Wildlife Conservation we have commenced a project themed around the world wetland day celebrations 2020. The project funded by the Ramsar Regional Center – East Asia (RRC-EA) is designed to widen access to information on wetlands using a more engaging approach.

As youth play a highly influential role in the society, it is proposed to take youth (Aged 12 – 16) living in areas bordering the urban wetlands on a ‘wetland walk’. This walk will be guided by a wetland expert and it will be a perfect platform to provide them with the true feel of wetlands and to trigger interest and appreciation of the value and importance of the wetland ecosystem. This in return will emphasize the importance of enhancing and protecting the vulnerable and endangered species found within the ecosystem. Infographics will be prepared to enrich the experience; the graphics will detail the ecosystem services provided by wetlands; and provide information on charismatic species characteristic of Colombo’s urban wetlands. (Eg: saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) and Otter (Lutra lutra). Further, to maximize reach and to generate interest in prioritizing the conservation of urban wetlands a video will be produced which will speak of the ecosystem services and charismatic species of wetland ecosystems. This will be publicized widely on the organisation’s social media platforms and mainstream media outlets will be approached to carry the video to ensure the reach to a wider audience.