INSEE Cement, Sri Lanka’s leading and only 100% local cement manufacturer has issued an update and progress report of work completed towards the rehabilitation and reforestation efforts addressing the incident of illegal encroachment and forest clearing in its long-term leased land in Aruwakkalu.
During early September 2020, approximately 29 acres of forest land was illegally cleared causing detrimental environmental impacts. INSEE Cement immediately commenced a series of activities to prevent reoccurrence and to rehabilitate the affected area. The fast response demonstrates the company’s commitment towards the environment and to report transparently to all stakeholders.
INSEE Cement has commenced reforestation and since replanted nearly 8,000 plants over a land area of 15 acres. Additionally, in a bid to plant 19,000 plants in the affected area, the plants have already been procured from the Forest Department and are in the process of being planted.
The company has completed surveying of the affected area and clearly marked the boundaries. Boundary indicator poles purchased from the State Development & Construction Corporation are being installed. In order to increase security measures, guards on motorbikes continue to patrol the area on an ongoing basis.
The deployment of a drone camera for closer surveillance and recording of land encroachments has also been actioned. Installation and display of sign and notice boards along the boundary indicating land ownership and warning to trespassers is in progress.
INSEE Cement is continuously working with the close by communities to create awareness on the importance of protecting forests and the reforestation efforts. Also, the vital support of authorities, especially the Air Force, where over 100 volunteers are contributing towards the replanting process.
The relevant authorities are being kept updated regularly including Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera who inspected the restoration works on October 1st. The site work is continuously being overlooked by the forest department officials, while Wanathawilluwa AGA has been personally involved to work on the replantation work.
INSEE Cement pledges to continue the reforestation program relentlessly, to nurture and restore the area together with all relevant stakeholders to ensure optimum protection of Sri Lanka’s ecosystem.