Climate change is considered as one of the global issues at present, which can affect the existence of life itself. It affects all sectors of a country. Global warming is leading to sea level rise, increase in average temperatures and frequent adverse weather conditions. These anticipated changes represent a significant threat to the coastal areas, the different sectors of the national economy, food security and human health.
Rapid deforestation, combustion of fossil fuels, urbanization and industrialization has led to decrease in air quality in many cities around the country, hence aggravating the climate change.
Rich biodiversity has made Sri Lanka exceptional with multitude of ecosystem services. Rainforests, wetlands, coastal and marine habitats provide a range of benefits: watershed protection, protection against natural hazards, prevention of soil erosion, ecotourism, regulation of rainfall and water cycles, providing livelihoods for local people are a few to mention.
However, the country’s increasing population pressure on ecosystems has resulted in degradation, fragmentation and loss of habitats. Moreover unplanned development activities, pollution, over exploitation of species are few of the threats that is affecting our biodiversity today.
It is widely accepted that land degradation is one of the most critical problems affecting the future economic development in Sri Lanka.
The rapidly expanding population has built pressures on natural resources resulting heavy soil losses; decline in soil fertility and reduction in crop yields.
It could lead to soil salinization resulting in poor yields; landslides and forest degradation due to deforestation in both dry and wet zones of the country.
During the recent past, losses due to disasters in Sri Lanka have increased substantially. We are prone to disasters caused by natural hazards such as: floods, cyclones, landslides, drought and coastal erosion: which is now being aggravated by climate change. Other localized hazards include lightning strikes, epidemics and other human induced hazards caused by environmental pollution and extreme urbanization.
Often cities are ill-prepared to respond to such events and unplanned development aggravate the situation. Experience during last decade confirm that Sri Lanka is vulnerable to frequent hydro-meteorological hazards. Therefore, it is urgent and critical to prevent new risks, reduce existing risks and improve resilient capacity of communities to ensure sustainable development in Sri Lanka.
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