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* Severe environmental damage in Sri Lanka's World Heritage Sri Pada mountain range
Sun, Mar 9, 2014, 12:37 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 09, Colombo: Environmentalists in Sri Lanka warn of severe environmental degradation in the island's main catchment area of Sri Pada mountain.

They say that the pilgrims who visit the sacred mountain are damaging the environment in the sensitive ecosystem from which the country's four major rivers, Mahaweli, Kalu, Kalani and Walawe start and flow downwards.

Sri Pada is one of the major eco-tourism destinations in the Sri Lanka hill country and is covered by the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary, which is known to be rich in biodiversity.

Central Environmental Authority says the pilgrims leave behind one ton of waste every day in the area during the pilgrimage season which lasts six months.

Visitors to Sri Pada said that all the wash rooms were closed recently during the drought due to lack of water. Thousands of pilgrims were stranded without washroom facilities and sources say many had used the forest reserve for elimination needs.

Reportedly sanitary workers of Udamaluwa were seen recklessly dumping garbage into a steep mountain side.

Central Environmental Authority has set up a garbage collection center at Nallathanniya. However pilgrims say that large mounds of garbage are seen in the area.

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