Highways Minister orders planting of trees absorb particulate matter, black carbon and dust

Chief Government Whip and Highways Minister Johnston Fernando yesterday (29) instructed his officials to grow trees that could absorb particulate matter, black carbon and dust, while tolerating heat, along the new Kelani bridge and connecting roads including the Kelanitissa circular road and the road to the bridge from the Orugodawatte junction.

Officials of the Department of National Botanical Gardens have recommended that trees that could work as “lungs” of an ecosystem because they absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen should be selected for the purpose. Accordingly they have selected trees such as Koboneela (Bauhinia purpurea), the Golden shower or Ehala (Cassia fistula), May Mara (Delonix regia), Robarosiya (Tabebuia Rosea), Kaha Mara (Poinciana regia) Rat Mal (Rhododendron arboretum), Mee (Madhuca longifolia), Kumbuk (Terminalia arjuna), Na tree (Mesua ferrea) the Ceylon ironwood, Araliya (Plumeria) Magul Karanda (Pongamia pinnata), Nuga (Ficus benghalensis) and Murutha (the queen of flower tree -Lagerstroemia speciosa).

Minister Fernando instructed the project director to lay an underground pipe system to be set up to provide water to the trees.

Officials of the Botanical Gardens Department have pointed out that the polluted air contains particles, odors and harmful gasses like nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and ammonia. These pollutants settle on the leaves of trees and plants. The leaves and plant surface absorb these pollutants and through their stomata (pores) and filter these harmful substances from the air. Trees also trap heat and reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The meeting was held via zoom technology to discuss the finalising of the work of New Kelani Bridge which is an engineering design known as extradosed type, which uses stay cables to connect two main pylons with the bridge deck and to share weight of the loads from the bridge deck. The bridge is to be commissioned for the public use at the end of September.

Among those present at the meeting were Secretary to the Ministry R.W.R. Pemasiri, Chairman of the Road Development Authority Chaminda Ataluwage and Project Director Chief Engineer Darshika Jayasekera.


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