Floods; Where We Went Wrong- Part 4
Searching amongst the debris for valuables lost and trying to get back on their feet, the thousands affected by the floods are still reeling from the shock of being marooned in their own houses and having to brave the waters to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.
Relocation and reverse encroachment were the first two steps of the four pronged proposed by Dr. Pradeep to prevent such destruction and loss of life due to floods in the western province of the country in the future. Today we take a look at the next step that Dr. Laksiri Pradeep Thanthrige, Lecturer of the Civil Engineering Department of the Open University of Sri Lanka, suggests to be the best way forward.
Taking a look at all the constructions that lie along the rivers in the country, it is evident that there are a fair number of factories manufacturing various goods in close proximity to the river or right on the river banks. The river of interest this year is of course the Kelani River which rose a startling 8 ft and caused the most damage to both persons and property.
The Kelani river at 145km holds the title of the longest river in the country with a river basin of 2,292 sq. km. it is a primary source of drinking water to many ad home to a host of aquatic species. Having said this it is also the most polluted river in the country. The primary reason being that over 70 factories are located along its bank and their toxic waste is disposed of through the river.
While there are acts and authorities that implement and monitor the waste disposal methods, the ineffective implementation of the existing legislative safeguards has led to the severe degradation of the water quality and has made the river a hazard to lives both human and otherwise. We desperately need a vigilant monitoring process to prevent further damage being caused to our ecosystem.
As we build this account of where we went wrong; for the rain that is the harbinger of life, to instead cause such devastation; next time we take a look at the most important step in preventing flood occurrence and damage in our country as we continue the journey with Dr Pradeep and take a look at the final step in mitigating the flood damage in his four step proposal.
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