President Mahinda Rajapaksa said we need to act on climate change and protect and preserve nature, because we owe future generations a livable environment.
Addressing the World Environment Day National Programme at Temple Trees yesterday, he said the present generation were not the owners but merely trustees of the environment, and it was their responsibility to endow a cleaner and greener environment for the benefit of the future generation.
The President noted that ‘Mahinda Chinthanaya’ clearly spells out the plans for protecting the environment and assured that the government will always uphold its responsibility in preserving nature.
President Rajapaksa said when implementing economic programmes, the government has always been mindful of achieving the correct balance between industrial progress and preservation of environment.
He said the government’s aim was to achieve sustainable economic development while working to protect and preserve the environment.
The President said the government had shelved plans to build a second international airport in Weeravila after environmentalists warned of its harmful impact on nature and had shifted it to Mattala. President Rajapaksa said the government has approached all development programs with the same mindset.
He said today the whole world had focused attention on the environment and experts unanimously believe that climate and environment is becoming unstable and increasingly hostile largely as a result of human activity. President Rajapaksa said his government was always prepared to take bold steps to address this critical problem.
He said the government considers educating children on the environment was one of the most profitable methods for protecting it and was taking all steps necessary to realize it.
Environment and Renewable Energy Minister Susil Premajayantha said his ministry has initiated a gamut of programmes to help protect and preserve environment.
“One such programme focussing on the Colombo city will begin today with the help of students of Royal College,” he said.
The President also presented President’s Medals to 90 chosen Environment Pioneers, students who excelled in their contributions to preserve and protect the environment.