Since my childhood, I was passionate about the splendid nature of rivers. I cannot recall how many times I got scolded by my mother because of my irresistible desire for the rejoicing experience at the nearby river in the evenings. Even today the chill and the divine experience I caressed when I dived in the river are still vivid in my memory.
Planting trees can be considered as an effective means of protecting water streams. Trees and plants have an amazing power to provide many benefits to our environment and community. For instance, forested stream banks act as a sponge to filter out excessive nutrients, sediment and other pollutants that run off from the land into the streams. Shrubs and trees are also able to prevent stream bank erosion by anchoring the soils, keeping the banks stable and excess sediment out of the stream. Buffers can even help mitigate flooding by absorbing and slowing down surface runoff.
Ganga Addara phase 2.0 was organized by the Rotaract Club of Alumni of University of Moratuwa under the guidance of Mr. Gamini Alwis, the Deputy Regional Manager of State Timber Corporation – Colombo Region. The project was not an individual effort but a team work of Rotaract Club of Alumni of University of Moratuwa, Rotaract Club of University of Moratuwa, officials from the Divisional Secretariat Office and the villagers of the area. Rtr. Chathuranga Gallage, Rtr. Himantha Alahakoon, Rtr. Don Kasun Gallage, Rtr. Thilina Weerakkody, Rtr. Shermila Rushana, Rtr. Sahan Rajitha Jayawardana, Rtr. Pooja Sandani, Rtr. Dilmi Ambewela and Rtr. Pasindu Malshan – myself were the team members.
Photographs courtesy of Rotaract Club of Alumni of University of Moratuwa
The river we selected for our project was ‘Mawak Oya’. We chose to plant trees on the river banks in Udagama, Padukka. We entered the Udagama forest reserve in search of the river. Even though the heavy rains, dreadful slopes and the weight of the 200 plants hindered our progress, the dedication, inspiration and motivation were not even slightly moved. The destination of our hard path was a magnificent scenery. A turquoise-blue stream was splashing as it moved through the woods. After reaching our destination, we planted around 200 trees. In Ganga Addara phase 1.0, 50 trees had been planted. The progress of our project became evident as we increased the amount of the trees from 50 to 200.
I consider Ganga Addara Phase 2.0 as the most prominent opportunity where I paid back gratitude towards the river, which was my childhood fantasy. Therefore I am truly grateful to all the individuals and specially the team members. I wish Ganga Addara project will be continued with a massive progress.