Stop discharging sewage to the sea.

The Center for Environmental Justice (CEJ) has filed a writ petition in the Court of Appeal seeking an order refraining the Marine Environment Protection Authority from granting permission to the newly built Araliya Unawatuna Beach Hotel, to disposing sewage into the sea.

The CEJ and its Executive Director Hemantha Withanage filed this petition naming Central Environmental Authority, Urban Development Authority, and Director General of Wild Life, Chairman of Araliya Group W.Sirisena, Habaraduwa Divisional Secretary, Marine Environment Protection Authority and several others as respondents.

Petitioners state that a massive hotel project that includes over 250 rooms covering an extent of10 acres and 6.1 perches at Yaddehimulla in Unawatuna in the Galle district had been constructed recently. The hotel project belongs to Araliya Hotel Beach Private Limited.

Petitioners state, that this edifice of a hotel has posed devastating consequences on the globally renowned Rumassala sanctuary, Unawatuna beach and exotic coral reef of Rumassala- Bona Vista with the hotel being built no less than 15 meters away from the Unawatuna beach and situated right next to the famous “Walle Devalaya” (shrine on the beach) and the Rumassala conservation site. It has been declared as a sacred area and it is cited as “Historical Welledewalaya in Unawatuna Sacred area” by the Extraordinary Gazette Notification No.

1877/80 dated 29.08.2014.

Petitioners stated that the mega Araliya hotel project if not regulated appropriately and objectively by the said Respondents will eliminate the ecological appeal of Rumassaala and Unawatuna where people have lived peacefully since time immemorial.

Petitioners also stated that they are reliably informed that permission has not yet been granted by the respondents to discharge treated water into the sea.

The petitioners state that at present all the wastewater from the said hotel is being discharged to a waterway situated adjacent to the hotel, which ultimately flows into the sea.

Petitioners state that the portion adjacent to the Unawatuna Bay, namely Rumassala, has been declared as a Sanctuary under Section 2(2) of the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance No. 2 of 1937 as amended and published in Gazette Extra Ordinary No. 1269/25 dated 03.01.2003.

Petitioners further state that Unawatuna beach is recognized as one of the most charming seashores in the world. The tourists who visited Unawatuna in large numbers since its transformation into a prominent tourist destination of Southern Sri Lanka preferred homestead tourism.

Petitioners state that an Initial Environmental Assessment had been prepared in September 2016 for the construction of a 14 storey hotel consisting of 250 rooms and other ancillary buildings. Although public comments were made concerning the said EIA Report, none of it has been taken into consideration.

Petitioners state that it is reported that plans are underway to construct a 20- 40 foot wide carpet road from Yaddehimulla to the Rumassala Peella Junction via the boundary of the Rumassala Mountain. If the access road is constructed, there will be considerable destruction to the ecosystem of the peripheral borders of the Rumassala Sanctuary.

They said the road is constituted to provide an access road to the said hotel, with the assent of the Habaraduwa Pradeshiya Sabha.

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