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* Sri Lankan troops battle invasive plant in the North
Wed, Mar 5, 2014, 01:57 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 05, Jaffna: Sri Lankan troops have engaged in battle again in the North, this time against an invasive plant that has been rapidly covering acres of land.

Security Force Headquarters, Jaffna (SFHQ-J) on Tuesday (4) launched a well-coordinated drive to eradicate a seriously invasive species of Parthenium wild plant, botanically called Parthenium Hysterophorus.

The plant has spread in the peninsula engulfing more than 747 acres of land in 10 Divisional Secretariats in the Jaffna peninsula, the Army says.

According to the Army, the plant species took its roots in Jaffna after it was brought to the peninsula by the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in 1987, together with fodder for consumption of goats and sheep for meat as well as through IPKF military hardware.

The plant causes various skin diseases and respiratory difficulties such as asthma and other oral diseases, and sometimes death in animals if it were eaten.

At the request of the public, the eco-friendly project to eradicate the Parthenium from the land has started at different locations under the instructions of Commander of SFHQ-J, Major General Udaya Perera. The residents in the respective areas have also joined the Army to clear the environment.

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