COLOMBO, 06/12 - Sri Lanka is setting up natural barriers along its 1,280-kilometer coastline to protect the island country from natural and man-made calamities, said the Sunday Observer.
The natural barriers to be set up include the re-establishment of san dunes along the coasts, the protection of mangroves and the cultivation of a range of plants which grow along the coasts, including coconut, kotamba, wettikeya and other useful plants.
The country has launched a pilot project of this kind in the southern Galle district which was heavily hit by last year`s tsunami that killed nearly 40,000 people in the country.
Some NGOs currently working in the country to counter the damage sustained by the tsunami, have readily pledged funds and other assistance for the project, said the report.
The schools along the coasts of the Galle district had agreed to maintain the natural barriers which will be developed.
The development of natural barriers and consequent handing them over to the schools of each locality will be extended to all tsunami hit areas, and in time around the country`s coastline.
Stretches of beach where naturally occurring dunes were untouched by man, including Potuvil and parts of Yala, suffered very little or no damage when the tsunami struck, experts said.
There is much biodiversity in the country`s coastal belt in estuaries, lagoons and marshes amounting to 120,000 hectares of which 80,000 hectares consist of deep lagoons and estuaries.
The rest are shallow lagoons, tidal flats, mangrove swamps and saline marshes which must afford benefit to the people.
Since the tsunami last year, the Sri Lankan government has repaired some man-made coastal barriers such as boulders, groynes, revetments and breakwaters built in the sea.