ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 11 , 2007
Vol. 41 - No 41

Weerawila:What a monumental folly!

By G.J. Eriygama, Former Environmental & Forestry Officer, Mahaveli Authority.

Reference Shelani Perera’s article appearing in The Sunday Times of 25.02.07 under the title ‘Birds and planes can’t fly together’, I am very much in agreement.

There is more to it than that. Opening an international airport at Weerawila is a monumental folly. The landing and take-off patterns of huge aircraft like the Boeing 777 and the largest airbus will take the craft directly over the Yala game sanctuary or Bundala bird sanctuary. The noise of four-engined jets will stampede animals like elephants and deer and even make wild boar fly!

The C.E.A. should be consulted to make an environmental assessment. Further, what is the rationale of having an international airport more than 200 km from the Colombo International Airport, when Colombo is the business centre of the country. Business passengers will have to take connecting flights by helicopter or small planes.

If the wish is to cater to tourists, developing Weerawila or the airstrip at Koggala in a small way would do. The best would be developing Ratmalana as an alternative. The marsh land at one end could be filled. After all Hong Kong has reclaimed from the sea.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.