Hayleys Fabric boosts biodiversity regeneration efforts


Reinforcing its commitment to boosting biodiversity regeneration and environmental conservation, textile manufacturer Hayleys Fabric has partnered with the Central Environment Authority (CEA) and the universities of Peradeniya and Wayamba to champion the protection of habitats related to tributaries of the Bentota River.

The R. 1.5 million initiative aims to stabilize the banks of the Ihala Hewassa, Kaludola and Kalugala streams with the conservation and regeneration of the three endangered species of Ketal (Lagenandra).

“Our commitment to a sustainable future runs deep. In line with the Hayleys Lifecode, an ESG (environment, social and governance) driven roadmap for the Hayleys Group, we have taken significant steps to ensure that every aspect of our manufacturing process is sustainable and environmentally friendly .

“We recently invested in nine acres of wetlands adjacent to our factory premises to preserve biodiversity and raise awareness of the unique endemic species found within its borders. Having understood that the most serious threat to the survival of life on earth is the loss of biodiversity, we look forward to supporting our partners and extending our commitment to environmental conservation to ensure that another area to community is protected and thrives under their leadership,” said Rohan Goonetilleke, Managing Director/CEO of Hayleys Fabric.

Steps have been taken to raise awareness of the importance of Ketala within the community and schools by CEA, local authorities, the Forestry Department and the Walallwita Divisional Secretariat. In addition, the selected banks will be monitored by selected members of the community under the supervision of the concerned Grama Niladharis.

“Rivers and wetlands are fundamental to securing our country’s water resources.

However, natural causes and human interventions have accelerated the degradation of the banks. Given that one of the recommended methods of stemming erosion is the restoration and conservation of the natural flora and fauna that call it home, this particular project will have the dual purpose of protecting our shorelines while maintaining endemic and threatened plants like Ketala,” said CEA Director General PB Hemantha Jayasinghe.

After initiating preliminary surveys and site visits for the project, Phase 1 of the project is underway in Kalutara and Galle districts, with the germination of selected Ketala seedlings supported by the university team led by the principal plant taxonomist of the University of Peradeniya, Senior Professor Deepthi Yakandawala.

Prof Yakandawala said: “Sri Lanka has recorded 13 species of Ketala, ten of which are endemic to the country. Five are listed as critically endangered, four endangered, and one species is critically endangered or possibly extinct. Since many of these plants have been collected and sold as ornamentals, much needs to be done to protect and conserve the species. Through this initiative, we will not only be able to reintroduce the species to the river banks, but also conserve it in its natural habitat in Kalutara district. »

The academic team of the Departments of Botany of the Universities of Peradeniya and Wayamba, as well as the Higher Institute of Sciences (University of Peradeniya) are in charge of determining the environmental parameters associated with the watercourses in the chosen areas, the surveys on the flowering and fruiting phenology, ex situ seed germination and seedling cultivation and restoration strategies as well as public awareness of the importance of Ketala conservation.


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