May 16, 2018
by Rathindra Kuruwita
A proper technical evaluation needs to be made before stating that toxic fumes, emitted by the Norochcholai Power, Plant could reach Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura with the coming South-west monsoon, energy expert Dr. Tilak Siyambalapitiya says.
Dr. Siyambalapitiya said yesterday: “There is a scientific way of making such calculations and when the plant was built all these things were taken into account. We have to do these studies again to see if something has changed.”
Last Sunday, renowned ecologist Dr. Ranil Senanayake warned that the Electrostatic Precipitator (ESP) of the Norochcholai power plant, a filtration device that removed fine particles, like dust and smoke, from a flowing gas, had been malfunctioning since at least February. “When the power plant burns coal, gases like Nitrogen oxides and Sulphur dioxide are emitted. These gases are a danger to the environment and you can already see that the canopies of tall trees in the area have become yellow,” he said.
In response Siyambalapitiya said that Bodh Gaya, from where the Sri Maha Bodhi was brought as a sapling is located in Bihar, which is a state that has a high number of coal mines and power plants. “However, that Bo tree looks fine. But then again we can’t say whether the tree is impacted by coal power plants without proper study.” Ecologists must also look at whether Bo Trees in Colombo are affected by the fumes of diesel vehicles, which have a higher sulphur concentrations, Siyambalapitiya said.