17/07/2016 – Monaragala, Sri Lanka: The district of Monaragala recorded its highest temperature in the month of April 2016, with significant changes in the weather. A month later monsoonal rains brought in minor flooding to the district as well. These erratic weather patterns has now become a normality and the usual trend in rain has ceased to exist.
Annual mean air temperature anomalies have shown significant increasing trends during the recent few decades in Sri Lanka. The rate of increase of mean air temperature for the 1961-1990 period is in the order of 0.016 °C per year.
Deforestation has been one of key contributors to this change as cities grow and forest areas are cleared to make way for development.
Accordingly the Sri Lanka Red Cross (SLRCS) Monaragala Branch has been working with the district’s Disaster Management Centre and other key players to raise awareness on climate change and on what people can do in order to reduce their carbon foot prints and to safeguard the environment to reverse the affects of climate change.
Working with school children on climate change has been a significant area of focus for the Red Cross. Therefore a programme was launched several years back by the SLRCS Monaragala branch in order to educate and to raise awareness among students.
A tree planting campaign for students was launched in the Monaragala, Medagama & Buththala divisions recently. Students from the Red Cross Junior Circles established in the schools within the district took part.
“We are not just planting trees for the sake of planting them” says Ravindu a member of the Red Cross Junior Circle from the Panchananda Maha Vidyalaya in Kubukkana. “We are planting trees like Nelli, Guava, Rambutan, Mango, Pomegranate, Orange and Na that will help the environment plus provide a source of food for us. This can become an income generation, in order to do this project in a bigger way within this area”
Before planting, an educational awareness activity was done by school teachers describing the task and the responsibilities of all of us to protect the environment.
Then students along with teachers and Red Cross volunteers engaged in planting trees. Students were later divided into groups and were given the task of looking after the plants.
The SLRCS Monaragala Branch is carrying out this activity in partnership with CML – MTD Constructions Pvt Ltd.