Sand Mining Within The Vicinity Of Maha Oya At Kochchikade And Divulapitiya

Under the leadership and direction of the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB), EFL is regularly invited for joint site inspections of proposed/ongoing sand mining sites along Maha Oya in Kochchikade and Divulapitiya due to the organisation’s involvement of the formulation of a five year river management plan for Maha Oya.

Such visits are carried out by the relevant government authorities prior to issuing permits for sand mining and sand washing facilities as well as upon renewal of existing permits. These areas of concern are heavily exploited due to unregulated mining activities and a lack of post mining restoration. Studies conducted by EFL reveal that, the beach at Kochchikade where Maha Oya meets the ocean, is one of the heavily eroded beaches in the country as a result of excessive sand mining upstream, which prevents transportation of the required amount of sand for beach replenishment.

Therefore, EFL continues to provide its technical and legal expertise on preventing sand mining in environmentally sensitive areas followed by site inspections and other available technical information. Subsequent to completion of such visits, EFL submits reports to GSMB: the authority mandated to issue permits for mining; proclaiming its stance on whether the identified location is suitable for mining or whether immediate restoration is required etc.

The aforementioned river management plan for Maha oya is still being implemented or the lack thereof by the GSMB. EFL also has not received feedback from or any support by GSMB on the matter in relation to recommendations submitted, subsequent to the several site inspections made. Therefore, EFL continues to follow through on these commitments and ensure protection of the river line ecosystems and control excessive mining of sand.