June 9, 2016 - 4:00 PM
Address@ the Senate Hall of the College House, University of Colombo View map
The World Environment Day (WED) falls on the 5th of June each year, and to mark this occasion for 2016, the Base for Enthusiasts of Environmental Science and Zoology (BEEZ) of the Faculty of Science, University of Colombo, plan to hold an array of events for school children, undergraduates as well as professionals in public and private sectors, in order to draw attention to human activities which have a direct impact on the state of the environment of our planet.
The WED is the United Nations’ most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries. The theme for this year, 2016, focuses on a most important issue, which is THE ILLEGAL TRADE IN WILDLIFE. Today the world’s largest illegal international trade is in drugs, arms, human trafficking and wildlife. Under the slogan “Go Wild for Life”, a global spotlight will be shined on this cross border trade that is one of the biggest threats to the plants and animals of this world including our own precious species.
As a country which is one of the biodiversity hotspots in the world, Sri Lanka’s levels of species diversity and endemism are very high. Yet many species are illegally removed from their natural habitats just to please ignorant people who want to keep them as pets, use them in animal displays or performances or killed for their tusk and skins. Animal parts are also used as medicines and ornaments. In Sri Lanka, animals such as the Asian Elephant, Star Tortoise, Leopard and Horned Lizard and trees such as Wallapatta are regularly in the news because of being poached and collected for illegal trade.
If Sri Lanka wants truly to be a hub of global tourism, we have to protect our plants, animals and the habitats and ecosystems that house them.
WE SIMPLY CANNOT AFFORD TO IGNORE WILDLIFE TRADE IN OUR COUNTRY. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR YOUNG PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY TO REALIZE THIS AND ACT TO REVERSE THIS SITUATION, AS THEY WILL INHERIT THIS COUNTRY AND PLANET VERY SOON.
BEEZ along with the Institute of Environmental Professionals of Sri Lanka (IEPSL), through the Sri Lanka Business and Biodiversity Platform, will hold an event on 9th June 2016, from 4.00pm to 6.30pm at the Senate Hall of the College House, University of Colombo.
It will have a keynote speech given by Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya, the Director General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation, followed by a panel discussion on the theme of the World Environment Day. The panelists will include:
- Prof. Devaka Weerakoon (Department of Zoology and Environment Science, University of Colombo),
- Mr. Samantha Gunasekara (Former Deputy Director of Customs),
- Mr. Akram Cassim (CEO, Colombo Jewelry Stores),
- Mr. Vasantha Leelananda (Executive Vice President, John Keells Group)
- Mr. Jagath Gunawardena (Attorney-At-Law).
The event is sponsored by Sampath Bank, and is open to all those who are interested in the subject. The Faculty of Science Media (FOS Media) team will provide a live webcast, to give greater exposure to the event and its message. So if you cannot be there, please watch this event on fos.cmb.ac.lk, or the YouTube channel /fosmediar.
BEEZ will also organize an island wide essay competition, photography competition as well as inter-school quiz competition on this theme in the morning of 9th June and the winners will be awarded at a ceremony to be held at the University of Colombo.