Sri Lanka - Mount Beach saga: Officials defend nourishment project, but questions remain

Amid widespread condemnation on social and mainstream media, Sri Lanka’s Coast Conservation Department (CCD) today defended a controversial Rs 890-million beach nourishment project carried out in parts of the island’s western shoreline.

Controversy erupted over the weekend as images of a seemingly ruined stretch of beach in the otherwise picturesque Mount Lavinia surfaced online, with reports that a sizable portion of the sand used to purportedly nourish the beach had been washed away to sea.

Criticism was swift, with allegations from various quarters that state funds were wasted on an ill-conceived project that was rushed through during the COVID-19 lockdown without consulting fishing and other communities that might be affected or without an adequate environmental impact assessment (EIA).

CCD officials who came before the media this afternoon played down the alleged damages to the environment and the cost to the state coffers, arguing that the project was, in fact, successful in meeting its objectives.

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