30 October, 2020

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The Terrorists Within

By Ranil Senanayake

Dr Ranil Senanayake

Dr Ranil Senanayake

What do we call someone who threatens the Sri Maha Bhodi and our heritage? Once we had a terrorist outfit called the ‘Tigers’ who attempted to damage our living link to the Buddha, the Sri Maha Bhodiya. Should the label now be given to the gang who are attempting to build a 500 MW coal fired power station in Trincomalee (as stage I). They have been informed time and time again of the negative global experience on Coal fired power plants. They are aware of the damage to the health of the current and future populations living in the NCP. The fact is, that these people who are already suffering from being poisoning by agricultural water, will now poisoned again through the air. These realities seem not to bother the promoters of Coal fired power plants. Their profits seem to be more important than the health of the population living around. But the most disturbing and disgusting aspect of the cover up is that neither the CEB, CEA or any other so called ‘Sri Lankan’ institution with responsibility to the public, has pointed out the obvious cost we will have to pay with acid rain and heavy metal fallout from this power plant.

A 500-megawatt coal plant ( only the first stage of Sampur) burns 1,430,000 tons of coal, uses 2.2 billion gallons of water and 146,000 tons of limestone. It also puts out, each year

10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide. Sulfur dioxide (SOx) is the main cause of acid rain, which damages forests, lakes and buildings.

10,200 tons of nitrogen oxide. Nitrogen oxide (NOx) is a major cause of smog, and also a cause of acid rain.

3.7 million tons of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main greenhouse gas, which is the leading cause of global warming

500 tons of small particles. Small particulates are a health hazard, causing lung damage.

220 tons of hydrocarbons. Fossil fuels are made of hydrocarbons; when they don’t burn completely, they are released into the air. They are a cause of smog.

720 tons of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas and contributor to global warming.

225 pounds of arsenic, 114 pounds of lead, 4 pounds of cadmium, and many other toxic heavy metalsCoal fired power plants

The list goes on, approving such a polluting monster not only threatens our well being, but runs directly opposite to the promise that our President gave the world at the COP21 in Paris last year when he announced that Sri Lanka will seek a fossil free future in our power generation. Perhaps this is the group hell-bent in destroying our Presidents reputation by giving lie to his international obligations.

The whole reason for considering Coal as the energy source for our future was based on the premise that Coal was the cheapest option a study was made by the same people who will benefit from the coal trade. This study is astounding in the fact that all costs have been externalized in counting the cost of power from the coal power plant. The loading-dock, conveyor systems, grid structures, support infrastructure, land, water etc. are all provided free by the Government of Sri Lanka (us). In addition, the costs to public health or biodiversity are considered as externalities and not computed, only the operation of the power plant for coal is considered in the cost. With such lopsided costing they announce that coal is the cheapest and push for the acceptance of coal.

The promoters of coal-fired power have a great responsibility by our nation. We live on a land where the rocks were turned into the art that bespeaks our culture; clouds of acid rain from the coal-fired power plants will erode our precious heritage in a few short years. An erosion of our cultural icons truly indicates an erosion of the culture. Luckily for us the spluttering Norochicolai coal fired plant on AB (Always Breakdown) mode has its pollution cleaned by the NE monsoon, this will change if the Sampur plant begins to spew out its pollution into the NE monsoon winds.

But the most disturbing and heinous outcome of allowing this power plant to be constructed is the danger that the coal fires power plants will pose to the Jaya Sri Maha Bhodiya.

Any smoke from Trincomalee will be carried across the NCP by the North East Monsoon winds and because these winds are wet and rain laden, acid rain is a certain consequence. Acid rain happens when gas pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides react with water molecules in the atmosphere; the chemical reaction of sulfur oxide turning into sulfuric acid is the consequence. The oxides of nitrogen produce nitric acid. These acids are delivered to Earth when it precipitates with rain and is called ‘wet deposition of acid’.

As the sad death of many European forests have taught us, acid rain effects trees in several different ways, it will dissolve and wash away the nutrients and minerals in the soil, which help the trees to grow. It will cause the release of harmful substances such as aluminum into the soil. It will wear away the waxy protective coating of leaves, damaging them and preventing them from being able to photosynthesize properly. In Europe the acid rain travels for miles, going across national boundaries, carried by the wind and dispersed by the mountains.

Obviously, the promoters of the power plant understand the problem, the EIA for Sampur attempts to allay our fears by suggesting that the winds from the NE monsoon will be deflected east or north and will not pass over the NCP. But the reality is that are no mountains between Sampur and Polonnaruwa or Anuradhapura to disperse or deflect the acid rain, all the acid rain will fall over these areas. Being an acid it will burn the leaves of plants causing them to sicken and die. A freak wind event that concentrates the acid rain over the Jaya Sri Maha Bhodi only once, is the trigger needed for a national disaster !

Armed with this knowledge of the effect of large coal fired power plants, any enemy of Sri Lanka could damage our cultural icons without resorting to bombs and weapons. Should the Sri Lankans, who, in the face of this knowledge, promote this monstrosity, be looked as the same as the terrorists who once attempted to attack the scared tree of our nation. When stating that their acid rain will be deflected north and eastwards, are the Indians attempting to lull as into a sense of false security until the deed is done ?

And this is just the tip of the iceberg, the destruction of Sri Lanka’s environment is being planned to satisfy India’s greed for power. The power generated by coal is being promoted for India’s use, this is clear from the CEB’s projects of their energy scenario for Sri Lanka. There are insidious, plans to lay an underwater cable to carry a massive power load to India, suggesting that many more power plants are being planned. Is this a blatant attempt to export the pollution that Coal fired power plants generate in in India, to us in Sri Lanka, while they get the power ? Not at all the action of a friendly neighbor.

Armed with this knowledge, let us watch the dance of the CEB and the Indians, will the politicians be mesmerized by their dance.? Sampur is the litmus test of India’s friendship towards us. Will they heed the concerns of Sri Lankans and give us solar or renewable power instead of Coal? or will they try to push the polluting Coal on us by force ? Now that the despicable trick of portraying coal as the cheapest energy option, while externalizing all national costs have now been exposed, will they still continue to deal with the con-men and help them accomplish what the terrorists could not ?

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Latest comments

  • 6
    8

    Yes you are wright Dr.Ranil!! Yes we have the terrorist within!! The government !! The state leaders !! Their policies!! Since even before independence!! The forces !! State aided settlements of convictsin north n east !! In the name development !! State language policy !! Discrimination again Tamils !! In there culture !! Education !! Higher education !! Employment !! Violence n Genocide against Tamils !! Are you aware of this Dr !!!!

    • 2
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      I scrolled down to write exactly this, Kailainathan.

      • 7
        3

        Many thanks Dr. Ranil Senanayake. Please keep up your excellent work. Sri Lanka needs clean solar power. No thanks to anything else from the bloody Chinese or Indians.

        Sri Lanka Govt. needs to ask China for DEBT FORGIVENESS and write down debt to prove it is a real friend of the People of Lanka.

        The Indian and Chinese funded Development Disaster projects, like the Sampur Coal plant and the Colombo Port City for Chinese oligarchs can only be stopped by citizens and a MASSIVE PEOPLES MOVEMENT against DEVELOPMENT DISASTERS and WHITE ELEPHANTS.

        China and India are facing off in Sri Lanka because they want control of the Indian Ocean routes – offering environmentally and economically disastrous projects to a corrupt and stupid government of Ranil and Sira with their jumbo cabinet of morons and clowns.
        ‘Of course, Jarapassa got Lanka into a DEBT TRAP with China and looted the funds, but the Ranil-Sira govt. is worse because they are pretending that adding one disaster to another will solve the problem of Sri Lanka’s DEBT TRAP to the Chinese.

    • 16
      7

      Ranil Senanayake types:

      “What do we call someone who threatens the Sri Maha Bhodi and our heritage? Once we had a terrorist outfit called the ‘Tigers’ who attempted to damage our living link to the Buddha, the Sri Maha Bhodiya.”

      What do we call someone who actually attacked on 8 February 1989, Temple of the Tooth and our heritage? Once we had a terrorist outfit called the JVP/DJV who attempted to damage our link to the Buddha, Sri Dalada Maligawa. By the way JVP/DJV too killed Buddhist monks in several hundreds.

      Sorry what has LTTE attack on Sri Maha Bhodi got to do with pollution and environmental degradation?

      The state sponsored terrorism too damaged/destroyed several places of worship.

      I envy your ability to remember selectively from terrorism of the past.

    • 5
      3

      Flooding the country, lately the North and the East by the armed forces, with Buddha statues ”threatens the Sri Maha Bhodi and our heritage”. Buddhist precepts must be put in the heads and hearts of men/women/children and not in the concrete(made from sand and gravel) that is causing environmental hazards by riversandmining and seasandmining, Environment Circular 02/2015- Soil and Gravel Mining, http://www.environmentmin.gov.lk/web/images/pdf/circular%2002-2015%20english.pdf

      Dear Ranil, please try to spread the message of the circular to all educational institutes and community groups to save the environment(ie sand and gravel) for our future generations.
      Chemists must speak up: matter(sand and gravel in this aspect) cannot be created.

    • 5
      1

      We need a massive peoples power movement and PROTEST MARCH in Colombo and Sampur or Trinco against the Chinese Colombo Port city and the Indian Sampur Coal power plant.

      The Human Rights Commission should be petitioned to stop these pending development disasters.

      This protest will unite the people of north and South against the corrupt and criminal politicians – Ranil-Sira- Mahinda Jarapassa and family of looters- who are the REAL TERRORISTS in Sri Lanka today.

      These corrupt and criminal terrorist politician use Sinhala Buddhist and Tamil nationalism to first DISTRACT, DIVIDE and RULE the masses, while destroying the economy and environment.

    • 2
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      lol…the a government who do all the above by providing gover sponsored education in Tamil, cultural events of tamils and even tax reductions for kovil..it is thanks to Sinhala government the tamils had anything to call culture during the war

      • 10
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        sachoooooooooooooooooo Stupid II

        If those were too much of a burden for Sinhala/Buddhists to bear, let them go their separate ways. It will unburden your state with resources that can be used to import free rice from the moon.

        So the Tamils seem to be the only freeloaders. Don’t they pay any taxes, such as Individual Income Tax, Corporate Income Tax, Withholding Taxes, Economic Service Charge, Value Added Tax , Nation Building Tax, Stamp Duty, Stamp Duty, Construction Industry Guarantee Fund Levy, ………

        It is understandable if you don’t pay Tax.

        A share of Tax levied from Tamils also feed the unproductive war criminals and their families, corrupt politicians, contribute to the maintenance of Sangha and Buddhist Viharas, schools, pay for the stupid bureaucracy, funds the lifestyles of globe-trotting​​ crooked ministers and their mistresses, ……

        What seems to be your problem?

        We cannot help you simply because you are a born stupid.

    • 6
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      Dr Ranil Senanayake

      RE: The Terrorists Within

      “A 500-megawatt coal plant ( only the first stage of Sampur) burns 1,430,000 tons of coal, uses 2.2 billion gallons of water and 146,000 tons of limestone. It also puts out, each year”

      It was State Terrorism since 1948 that fed the Tamil Terrorism Later.

      Why blame the Tamils? The Sate started and initiated it.

      Of course Sinhala “Buddhists” who follow “Buddha” were behind it.

      “Armed with this knowledge, let us watch the dance of the CEB and the Indians, will the politicians be mesmerized by their dance.? Sampur is the litmus test of India’s friendship towards us. Will they heed the concerns of Sri Lankans and give us solar or renewable power instead of Coal?”

      Solar and Wind are “free” and will not make enough money for the Indians.

      A solution could be distributed power.

    • 1
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      Dr Ranil Senanayake

      RE: The Terrorists Within

      What is the Definition of Terrorism?

      Dr Ranil Senanayake. what is YOUR Definition of Terrorism?

      Do you consider the Sinhala Buddhist Actions Against the Tamils and the 2014 Actions against the Muslims in 2014, Sinhala Buddhist Terrorism? There were Buddhist monks?

      Noam Chomsky “On Western Terrorism” Interview

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPRvssOZiKA

      Published on Sep 18, 2013

      Noam Chomsky, professor of linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the author of many books including, with Andre Vltchek, On Western Terrorism: From Hiroshima to Drone Warfare, talks about his new book, his body of work and his take on recent events, plus listener calls.

  • 6
    4

    DR Ranil what would srilankas position be if we did not have norochacolai now .

    We would have to run diesel power plants to supplement our hydro power.Are you saying that diesel does not pollute? Plus the cost of electricity will rise astronomically driving away investors causing unemployment.

    We would be having six hour power cuts like in the 90’s without air conditioning tourists will not come to see our archaeological treasures.

    Thank you for your concern about the Sri Msaha Bodhi and stop trying to arouse irrational fears amonst the people.

    Do get a doctorate in commonsense.

  • 6
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    The proposed Coal Fired Power Plants will, if implemented, be sheer madness and will have irreversible and tragic consequences over the long term, as Dr. Senanayake describes.

    However, given the mentality of most politicians and business-people, it looks like Sri Lanka is in for another environmental disaster.

    When will we ever learn, if not from the mistakes of other nations in the past, from the available information available at present?

    Thanks, Ranil, for being a warning voice to us all.

  • 5
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    Unfortunately the only viable base load power comes from coal.

    The other is Nuclear. Nuclear is clean although it has other issues.

    If someone can dig up Gas from Mannar basin that can be an alternative too.

  • 4
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    wouldn’t it be better if an alternative is suggested rather than just criticizing ?

    Sampure
    Norochcholai
    Port city

    whose projects are these ?

    • 3
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      CLEAN SOLAR POWER IS THE SOLUTION with LOCAL People and Environmentally friendly development planning Not MEGA project to boost the mega egos of Megalomaniac Politicians who want to boost their profile and win votes from Modayas!

  • 1
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    I remember an Engineer in the 1950s encouraging people to go back to the Bullock Cart and ‘Pol Thel Laampu’!

    Everyone laughed at him then. The Rate at which Population is Expanding, It won’t be long before the Whole World will have to resort to Alternative Sources of Energy, like Solar Power, Hydro Power and Wind Energy!

    • 6
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      We have the sources in SOURTHERN srilanka. with more wind as a source.
      Germanys nothern areas you will see wind mills are being introduced increasing manner. Our people only to rely on what is being aided kill our future.
      Solar and Wind power can better be used in lanken rural corners better than anywhere else.
      And we can now work with German technologists since we have now good relationship with ruling govt. IC will support if we find ways to protect the moves from Rajapakshe culprits. They have been waiting like the frogs gawky waiting for their preys- to grab power and run this country to amok again.
      Bala lobi thirisana Should be tamed by lanken law and order in the days to come – that should be the first priority leaving all aside.

    • 1
      0

      Hamlet nangi,

      people in germany still love to use those lampu that our poor people still use- it is becaues they feel to use them is better than the electricity connected light systems. It is the nature of people what they had never experienced, are given the place wihle those who have lived long with Carosine lamps tend to start with electric lamps. Recalling my younger days at mahagerada, we had chimney lampu… when getting dark- it was a huge thing to light the lamps going through the commands of my father. This was in mid 70ties.

      • 2
        0

        Hiiniappu Akki,

        We loved those lamps, lit for us by the Bungalow Keepers at Yala and Vilpattu, when we went on our Family Safaris.

        There were no Luxury Hotels then, and the Elephants at Night, used to come right next to our Paduru on the Verandahs!

        Hamlet Nangi

    • 0
      0

      Hinni Appu Akki

      That Engineer was called Nanda Nimalasuriya. Do you remember Him?

      Hamlet Nangi

  • 2
    0

    Our mass is governed by some retards and oppertunist lack of a vision. Sun and wind are free the infrastrue is the only investment. But they cant make money out of it. So lets make some money.

  • 0
    0

    Acid Rain caused by burning of fossil fuels harms vegetation and buildings.

    http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/acid-rain-overview/

    The Maha Bhodiya is certainly at risk from emissions from the proposed Sampur project for generation of electricity.

    Long ago, Mawella near Dickwella in the south, was proposed as a suitable site for a coal fired power plant.
    The site was adjacent to a bay suitable for ships bringing coal, had plenty of fresh water available, mostly uninhabited land and was far away from populated areas and forests.

    The proposal was vetoed by President Premadasa, it was said, due to pressure from the “oil lobby”.
    Thus was born the Noroicholai coal fired project.

  • 0
    0

    What EIA has been done on the impacts? Potentially because it is near the ocean won’t the winds help dissipate the pollutants across the Indian ocean? Just thinking aloud. Yes indeed Mr. Senanayake you raised all the valid points; unless it is clean coal technology this will result in a significant impact. But as always there are tradeoffs right? can large scale solar farms be built to provide electricity on a local scale and are they sufficient? Also on Wind farms they require large areas of land in windy areas. In India the Taj Mahal is suffering as a result of industrial pollution. India and China are the biggest polluting nations besides USA.

    But US still uses coal power too although they are moving to more state of the art clean coal technologies including plants with scrubbers and filter systems. Obama is now very unpopular in the coal mining poor states like West Virginia, Wyoming and Kentucky because of his policies towards cleaner forms of energy. People work in coal mines for generations. These hardy poor working class people are like our Estate Indian Tamils. My mother in laws grandfather migrated from Italy and worked in the Coal mines of Pennsylvania and died of black lung disease at a very young age. His family became destitute. The family continued to depend on the male family members slaving in the coal mines. They were hard working proud people. It is a curse but a livelihood for those who are in it and do not seem to have alternate employment opportunities.

    Do these backward Indian/Chinese technologies have that capability? If we ignore the negative impacts on the environment, doesnt coal become one of the cheapest non renewable energy sources to guarantee power supplies? Also are they using low sulphur coal or high sulphur coal? What other viable immediate options does SL have? Solar costs a lot more and so does Wind to install in any meaningful manner. Is this a case of damned if you do and damned if you dont?
    Respectfully.
    Mano R

    • 1
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      There is no such thing as ‘clean coall’. It is a myth, propagated by the coal lobby itself.

  • 5
    0

    Ranil Senanayake’s comment about the terrorists was equating them as eco terrorists which some did not comprehend.Why just talk since we know most of the origins of the crime committed and let us start a mega citizens movement and confront all the criminal politicians and tear them shred by shred.

  • 6
    0

    How come Ranil is not protesting against the Chinese coal-fired plant?

    The JVP attacked the Dalada Maligawa. Why doesn’t he refer to them as terrorists?

    Whenever an Indian or Tamil is involved in something negative, Ranil is ever quick to point them out. When a Sinhalese or Chinese does the same thing, he has not a word.

    Is Ranil Senanayake a Sinhala Buddhist racist?

    • 1
      2

      Here are a few examples of me defending Sri Lanka from the Chinese and our corrupt bureaucrats and corrupt politicians. Whatever race they claim to be anyone who damages our nation is doing something negative !

      Goodbye Colombo or is it Hello?
      Island, September 24, 2015

      Energy and Port City
      sland October 1 2015

      What Kind of EIA is Being Done for the Port City?
      October 12 2016

      The Port City Deals.
      October 26 2016

      How will the Port City be eco-friendly?
      Island December 25 2016

      Many more in Colombo Telegraph and Groundviews.

      • 5
        2

        Nonsense.

        Under the pretext of being impartial, Ranil furnishes a laundry list of articles that he has written to criticize the Chinese.

        But, in none of these articles does he refer to the local bureaucrats as terrorists. Why is that? Is it because the bureaucrats were serving the Rajapakasa administration? Or was it because he was afraid of the Rajapaksa administration?

        The moment Ranil Wickremesinghe comes into power, he gets the temerity to call the bureaucrats as terrorists.

        None of his laundry list of articles alludes to the possibility that the Chinese coal plants could damage the Mahabodhi. Does he believe that Norochcholai will not damage the Mahabodhi because it’s Chinese built? Cool story mate.

        I still stand by my point that Ranil Senanayake is a Sinhala Buddhist racist. I know him and his family personally.

        How on earth can you preach about saving the environment when Rain Forest Rescue is using SUVs to run around Sri Lanka?

      • 3
        2

        Ranil,

        1. Can you give your list of articles criticizing the Colombo Port City prior to the Maithri-Ranil election win on the 8th of January 2015?

        2. You have given reasons as to why the plant in Sampur will damage the Maha Bodhi. Do you think the plant at Norochcholai will damage the Maha Bodhi? If not, tell us why?

  • 5
    0

    I just cannot take anyone (Ranil or otherwise) who believes in any religion, any form of supernatural consequences, or that a tree needs to be saved because it has some supernatural significance and not for the fact that it is a tree, seriously.

    However, putting aside Ranil’s Sinhala Buddhist chauvinist tendencies aside, it does not change the fact that Sampur is a disaster waiting to happen. It would be better if he uses his considerable acumen to propose alternatives, and then takes it forward given that at least now he can openly criticise the party of his forefathers, given that he did not write a single article in criticism prior to 2015.

  • 3
    0

    Dr Senanayake.

    Let’s start at the very beginning.

    ‘What do we call someone who threatens the Sri Maha Bhodi and our heritage?’

    Your instinctive answer to your own opening question suggest a certain myopic disposition. The striped threat has been, and gone. However, today,, our ever present danger to the Sri Mahabodhi and our heritage is, in my humble opinion, the obnoxious and odious Bodhu Bala Sena .

    As for the rest of the article, you raise an admirable alarm. Too late. There is no doubt that putting down a coal-fired plant not just in Trincomalee, but anywhere in the north would be a environmental disaster for a region that still holds much of what is virginal of our ‘2500’ year old civilisation. But, the palms have been greased, the building is under way, and further baksheesh is promised when We the People pay for the coal.

    It would have been better would to locate somewhere in the southern arc between Galle and Pottuvil. But it’s too late for that now. The only consolation that we have is the promise that there will be no more commissioning of coal-fired plants in Paradise.

    What I fear most though is that the Curse of Hooniyam that is alive and well in this region, and has been haunting Noorochchilai ever since it opened, will now have to work overtime when Sampur fires up. Nice! Chinese Devils dancing in the west, Indian Devils in the East. Bodhu Bala buggers from the south. Shock and Awe.

    Aney Siripala, soon bring more coconuts for dashing..

    I tell you, you cannot make these things up.

  • 3
    4

    It is commonplace for clowns to sprout claims to know me personally but yet lies about SUV’s, etc. (I drive a old Toyota pick up, am my own driver and am a unpaid volunteer for Rainforest Rescue) jealous? A read of my book ‘Clowns and Jokers’ illustrate this type of personality well. The Chinese boy also confuses Buddhist philosophy to which I subscribe, with religion, must be his Chinese background. Oh by the way, my first article criticising the then Government on their development policies was written in 1978. I have been writing in public from then on, where were you ? I have been protecting trees all my life and there are trees of historical significance all over this world, but this one has a special significance to the Sinhalese ! Wake up guys! Get your facts right. Lies and innuendo does not make for meaningful criticism.

    • 4
      1

      Ranil,

      I accused Rainforest Rescue International of using SUVs.

      Anyway, you are the Chairman of this organisation. How come your green-washing does not extend to this organisation?

      Why don’t you advise your son and staff to get rid of the SUV and take public transport instead? You chaps preach so much about saving the forest and environment, yet still tend to use Toyota pick-ups (by your own admission)!

      About five years ago, one of your boys gave me a lift from Colombo to Galle in a white SUV marked with a Rainforest Rescue sticker.

      You have given reasons as to why the Sampur plant will damage the Maha Bodhi. However, I am still waiting to read your opinion as to why Norochcholai will not damage the Maha Bodhi!

  • 2
    1

    Sigh ! Keyenes, your slip is showing !

    Now for the last time, Rainforest Rescue never owned any SUV’s whatever personal grouse or delusion you have its your own. Or do you think that by writing in a blog hiding your name gives you the right to act as accuser, judge and jury ? Now you are extending your gripe to my sons ? I can assure you that they too never owned an SUV. Your statement is a lie. This is a great way to loose credibility, when you write lies on a public blog.

    As for Norachicholai, I hope the article (copied below) will satisfy your ego.

    Goodbye Paradise!
    September 1, 2013, 9:04 pm Island


    By Ranil Senanayake´

    It was the music group the Eagles who closed their song with the line ‘you call someplace paradise kiss it goodbye’. For us in Sri Lanka, it is indeed time to kiss this clean unpolluted land goodbye. We have become the worst polluter of the Indian Ocean. Through our toxic agriculture, we poison our farmers, our consumers, most of our rives are degraded, many lagoons already dead and now thanks to a short sighted energy policy our very air is about to become toxic.
    Of all sources of energy the most toxic after nuclear is coal. Coal also comes in many grades, from reasonably ‘clean’ or relatively free from Sulphur and heavy metals to low quality cheap coal that is laden with toxins. As is the case with many public enterprises, we have chosen plants that work on low quality coal without ‘scrubbers’ or devices to stop the toxins from entering the atmosphere. Norochcholai being a very good example. It is estimated that, one 500-megawatt coal-fired power plant produces approximately 3 million tons of Carbon Dioxide an year. All this going straight into the atmosphere to make us more climate irresponsible. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
    Burning coal produces many more toxins other than carbon dioxide into the air to affect people living as much as 100 miles away from the power plant and the coal ash becomes a dangerous source of health hazards that persist for years as the toxic ash is carried by wind and water into local communities.
    For instance, burning coal releases large amounts of the neurotoxin mercury into the air. Globally, coal-fired power plants are the single largest emitter of mercury emissions, accounting for over 50 percent of the mercury pollution caused by humans.
    Once released, mercury settles in streams, lakes and rivers and on the earth itself, where it infiltrates the groundwater. From there, it enters the food chain via algae and infects all life forms, from minnows to predator fish to birds and mammals, whose diets include fish, it goes up the food chain, the concentration of mercury intensifies.
    Emissions from the coal-burning power plants release the mercury into the atmosphere, which can travel thousands of miles before coming back to the Earth or the ocean. Billions of tons of coal being burned in Asia (especially India and China) have sent all the resulting mercury over the Pacific Ocean. Here it gets into the ocean’s food chain. The microorganisms in the sea convert this metallic mercury, which is not terribly hazardous, into another form of mercury called methyl mercury, which is very hazardous,”
    All coal contains tiny amounts of mercury, but it adds up when millions and millions of tons of coal are burned each year. Plankton absorbs the mercury, which are then eaten by small fish, and up the food chain. Thus, the disturbing levels of mercury that are currently found in oceanic fish such as Tuna, Swordfish etc. actually comes from coal-burning power plants.
    Eating more than a little of such fish is not recommended for pregnant women and very young children. A recent study demonstrated that In the baby’s brain, it kills neurons, it erodes the connections between cells and results in babies born with a three to eight points lower IQ than they should have had, They tend to have shorter attention spans, and behavior spans.
    Although emissions of mercury and other toxic constituents in coal pose risks to health, it is the more conventional kinds of air pollution that are thought to create the largest health burdens in terms of heart and respiratory diseases. Of all the air pollutants from coal burning, the major killer seems to be exposure to small particles (particulate matter smaller than 2·5 ?m in aerodynamic diameter). A specialist in the area, Dr.Lockwood , has provided data on the toxicology and physiological effects of small particulate matter. His studies demonstrate how inhaling small particles might cause heart disease, stroke, adverse pregnancy outcomes, IQ loss, and perhaps even diabetes.
    The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010) updates estimates for the effect of outdoor air pollution on health to more than 3 million premature deaths worldwide in 2010. More than 1 million of these deaths are estimated to occur in China alone, much because of coal.
    According to the American Lung Association, 24,000 people a year die prematurely because of pollution from coal-fired power plants. And every year 38,000 heart attacks, 12,000 hospital admissions and an additional 550,000 asthma attacks result from power plant pollution.
    As if this was not enough, there is the spectre of coal ash ensures that the polluting effects of coal burning continue for long periods after burning. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Piled into surface mounds it gets picked up by the wind and distributed for miles around. The toxins found in Coal ash are, Chromium, Selenium, Lead, Arsenic and Boron.
    Chromium affects the Brain and Spine. Ingestion of chromium can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers, anemia, and stomach cancer. Frequent inhalation can cause asthma, wheezing, and lung cancer.

    Selenium affects the Lungs, Stomach, and Intestines. Although Selenium is used in many bodily functions, deficiencies or excesses can be bad for one’s health. Excess intake of selenium can result in a host of neurological effects, including impaired vision and paralysis, and even death.
    Lead affects the Spine. Exposure to lead can result in brain swelling, kidney disease, cardiovascular problems, nervous system damage, and even death. It is accepted that there is no safe level of lead exposure, particularly for children.
    Arsenic affects the Brain, Spine, Lungs, Heart, Kidneys, and Intestines. Ingestion of arsenic can lead to nervous system damage, cardiovascular issues, and urinary tract cancers. Inhalation and absorption through the skin can result in lung cancer and skin cancer, respectively.
    Boron affects the Lungs, Heart, and Spine. Inhalation of boron can lead over the short-term to eye, nose, and throat irritation. Ingestion of large amounts, however, can result in damage to the testes, intestines, liver, kidneys, and brain, and eventually lead to death.
    The specter of acid rain from the coal-fired power plants has been discussed; the health of the people living in the North Central Province has not been addressed in any EIA. Has the EIA framed for the coal fired power plants ever addressed these issues? If not, is there any use of a ministry of the Environment? It has also been pointed out that the position of the coal-fired power plants will ensure the destruction of our heritage in Polonarrruwa, Anuradhapura, and Dambulla etc. Does anyone think of the Aukana Buddha, Thanthirimale and Vatadage—history we had brought down for so long? Will it be scarified on the alters of the barbarians? If the Sampur Coal fired power plant ever sees the light of day the pollution will double and cover the area all year round. The Norochcholai plant will pollute the region along the South West winds and the Sampur plant the region during the North East winds.
    Must we sacrifice our health and our heritage to the purveyors of energy addiction? Must we kiss goodbye to our paradise because of greedy politicians and corrupt businessmen ?

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      Ranil,

      I am familiar with this article of yours and did read it prior to posting my comments.

      I repeat the questions that I posted to you:

      – You have given reasons as to why the Sampur plant will damage the Maha Bodhi. However, I am still waiting to read your opinion as to why Norochcholai will not damage the Maha Bodhi!

      – Can you give your list of articles criticizing the Colombo Port City prior to the Maithri-Ranil election win on the 8th of January 2015?

      Your response to these questions smacks of a ‘Koheda Yanne? Malle Pol’ type of evasion.

      The next time someone wants a green-wash of their business, I’ll pass on your contact details!

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      The father is the Chairman while the son is the Managing Director of Rainforest Rescue International!

      I though that such family banditry only existed among the Rajapaksas and local bandit NGOs like Sarvodaya and Sewa Lanka.

      How would it be if Ban Ki-moon appointed Seon-yong as an Under Secretary general on the basis that it was his daughter?

      Ranil should publish the list of vehicles owned, leased or rented by Rainforest Rescue International since the last 10 years.

      Anyway, why would one need a salary from Rainforest Rescue when one owns properties at Gregory’s Road, Nuwara Eliya, Belipola and other hotspots (no pun intended).

      Reminds me of Donald Trump’s proclamation that he will not take even one dollar if he becomes El Presidente.

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    Read :

    “The Norochcholai plant will pollute the region along the South West winds and the Sampur plant the region during the North East winds. ” (above)

    It will effect the region in the same way.The only saving grace (at the moment is that it does not always fnction and the NE monsoon will help dilute its effects.

    As your malla seems full of pol at this time. I better leave to ‘yanne’ on your journey.

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      Thank you so much for that fleeting reference.

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        Keynes, it’s quite clear that you have been, or are, a ‘friend’ of Ranil’s. It’s also quite clear that you have a problem with his ‘views’, as opposed to his ‘words’.

        This being the case, have you ever confronted him personally on your ‘differences’?

        If not, it sure exposes your true character!

        As the old adage goes, “With friends like these, who needs enemies?”.

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    Keynes…what are your environmental credentials, if any, that demonstrates you have done something useful and helpful to protect this island nation of ours? People who are empty are the ones who criticize those who are actually doing something, including enlightening readers about aspects that we should be concerned about, and Dr. Ranil Senanayake is one such individual who has shed light on many matters that we citizens of this precious island ought to be concerned about. Perhaps your observations about Ranil would carry weight if you came out of your closet and revealed your true identity, as then our small society in Colombo would know exactly where your “gripe” and “baggage” is coming from, and why you have chosen to attack Dr. Senanayake on a personal level, without focusing on the issue at hand, which is to fight the coal power plant in Sampur, and sure, also Norochcholai.

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