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22nd August 1999

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Kala Corner

Ill-planned economic projects and bitter lessons

A video documentary released by the Sri Lanka Environmental Television Project (SLETP) recently is an eye-opener as to what ill-planned economic development activity can mean. The video covers the bitter lessons Japan learnt, how humans suffered when big industrial projects were started with absolutely no concern for the environment.

In the fifties, Japan was only interested in a massive economic development effort and concentrated on technologies in the heavy and chemical industries. The result was a devastating effect on the environment with the rapid pollution of air, water and land. Major health problems related to pollution were reported from different parts of the country.

Finally, it was 'people power' with massive demonstrations, protest marches and court cases which made the big firms open their eyes. The government stepped in to bring anti-pollution legislation and gradually the position changed.

The video is a fine example of how Japanese industry became environmentally conscious, compliant and responsible.

Look before you leap

A Sinhala version of the video on environment titled 'Paninta Pera Sitha Balamu' has also been turned out by SLETP, which has obtained the exclusive distribution rights for the film in Sri Lanka.

Over 40 copies of the video have so far been distributed to study groups and NGOs working on environmental issues, according to Nalaka Gunawardena, Sri Lanka Representative for Television Trust for the Environment (TVE), the Japanese organisation which produced the film along with Group Gendai Films Company. It is encouraging that several commercial firms have also obtained copies.

Copies (both English and Sinhala) can be obtained by contacting Nalaka on 074 403 443.

To Clarence with love

Clarence WijewardenaClarence Wijewardena is remembered for the new trend he introduced to Sri Lanka's music scene. He left us two years ago and is being commemorated at a show titled 'To Clarence with love' to be held on Saturday, August 28 at the BMICH.

"It's a show with a difference unfolding the story of Clarence's entry into the entertainment world and his meteoric rise to the top," says Lion Sri Sangabo Corea, Chairman of the Organising Committee on behalf of the Lions Club of Wellawatte West. Teaming up to make it a success are leading musicians including Annesley Malawana, Indrani Perera, Sohan Weerasinghe and T. M. Jayaratne who were close to Clarence. They will be backed by the much-in-demand Siha Shakti group.

The show is in aid of the Gamini Dissanayake Institute of Technology & Vocational Studies which teaches English to poor youth, trains them in computer science and secures employment for them once they complete their studies.

A society without terror

'Bheeshanaya' continues to be a pet word in our vocabulary, particularly of politicians. Dr. Harischandra Wijetunga uses the term for the title of his latest book. He discusses the terror era that existed and looks at the possibility of such terror in the near future too in 'Bheeshanayen Thora Samajayak'. He pleads for a society without terror and analyses how the country, the nation and religion can be saved.

A lawyer by profession, Dr. Wijetunga has several publications on science, arts, education, legal and political subjects to his credit. A publisher's release adds that the book offers a fresh path to youth groping in the dark following the breakdown of the Soviet Union.

This is the next Tuesday launch planned by Dayawansa Jayakody Publishers.

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