INSEE Cement celebrated World Environment Day this year with an innovative gesture of initiating mangrove restoration in Thalathuduwa and Kurulu Duwa Islands surrounded by the picturesque waters of Koggola Lake catchment. This is also the location of ‘Madol Duwa’ made famous by renowned author Martin Wickremesinghe in his book that has inspired Sri Lanka’s school children for decades. The event was graced by the presence of Rear Admiral Rohana Perera – Chairman, Marine and Environmental Protection Authority, Vidura Kariyawasam – Southern Provincial Secretary to the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Nandana Ekanayake – Chairman / CEO of INSEE Cement Sri Lanka,together with thesenior officials from Central Environment Authority, Wildlife and Ocean Resource Conservation, Sri Lanka Forest Department, Marine and Environmental Protection Authority, Habaraduwa Technical College students and INSEE Green Club Volunteers that made the event a success.
“The mangrove restoration is another important step forward in INSEE Cement’s sustainability journey toward carbon offsetting. We are proud to initiate mangrove conservation that echoes our commitment to build the nation with responsibility” said Nandana Ekanayake, Chairman/ CEO of INSEE Cement, Sri Lanka.
Mangroves offer the best carbon sequestrating as well as the best carbon sinking terrestrial ecosystem. There are only 12,000 Ha of mangroves in Sri Lanka. Most of the country’s mangroves face severe threat due to human activities that damage the ecosystem.
Koggola lagoon has a rich and diverse eco system and is also close to the company’s Ruhunu and Galle cement plants, presenting an ideal location for an environmental corporate social responsibility initiative to nurture the environment. Therefore, the company has selected the initiative to create sustainable value for the environment and communities in and around the area.
Koggala lake and lagoon spreads out to over 55 square kilometers including the catchment area and has 21 islands of which Madol Duwa attracts the largest number of visitors. Thalathuduwa spanning 30 acres is the largest island in the lagoon. The lagoon is greatly eroded by fishing and tourist activities while deforestation has also resulted in erosion. Around 2.5 acres of Kurulu Doowa has all but disappeared due to mangrove deforestation in the area. Environmentalists have found 10 true mangrove species and 22 associate mangrove species in the location.
Commemorating the World Environment Day, INSEE Cement’s endeavour to find a solution was to plant 250 mangroves on the 10th of June as a pilot initiative. The Company has partnered with Wildlife and Ocean Resource Conservation (WORC) and Central Environment Authority to obtain support, monitoring and continuity of the project.
Furthermore, the inauguration of the INSEE Green Club also took place at the end of the mangrove restoration activities.
Nandana Ekanayake, added “The success of our environmental management program is largely dependent on continuous and ongoing improvement. Our efforts in this regard are driven mainly by the annual plant-level spot measurement index supported by frequent audits conducted as part of the ISO 140001 and ISO 15001 annual recertification process. Under our sustainable environment-level programmes, we have developed strategies to move our products to support a smooth transition to a low carbon future.”
Danushka Gamage, Project Manager of WORC said “It is most commendable of INSEE Cement to take this farsighted initiative to restore fast depleting mangroves in our island that is rich in biodiversity, yet sadly endangered due to commercialization.”
Vidura Kariyawasam, Southern Provincial Secretary to the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment commented “INSEE Cement has been engaged in several initiatives to protect the environment. Relocating the habitats of endangered species in Aruakkalu is an activity they have maintained for many years. The company’s concern and focus on the need to protect and sustain the delicate balance of nature must be greatly appreciated by the people of Sri Lanka.”
As a part of its environmental conservation island-wide, the Company has been restoring deforested and degraded forests of Sri Lanka. INSEE Cement has contributed to the restoration of an identified fully degraded forest site in Kanneliya rain forest. INSEE together with 9 other responsible corporates in an initiative spearheaded by Biodiversity Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Forest Department and technical support provided by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has taken a pledge to restore 10 Acres of land in the area, and currently the work is in progress.
“Our company’s concern and focus on the need to protect and sustain the delicate balance of nature will continue, in living our commitment of Building the Nation, with Responsibility” reiterated Nandana Ekanayake, Chairman/ CEO of INSEE Cement Sri Lanka.