No more plastic garlands will allowed to be offered for God at the Kataragama Maha devale, Minister of Environment Mahinda Aamaraweera has decided.
He said only natural flowers and flowers made of oil paper will be allowed for religious activities in Kataragama Maha Devalaya from end of this month.
His comments came after revelations that some one million plastic garlands were being offered at the Devale annually which accounts to about one third of the total number of garlands used at the premises.
He pointed out that more than 20,000 kilograms of garlands are released to the environment after the religious activities.
There are about 300 families working in this industry and steps will be taken to supply them with necessary raw materials and technical instructions, the minister said.
The minister further said that natural flowers are used for religious activities at Hindu Kovils in Bambalapitiya imported from India.
India earns a huge foreign exchange by exporting flowers to Europe and America. therefore we must make the people interested in growing flowers in several villages so that we can stop our foreign exchange going away to other countries. In addition to that we can save that foreign exchange in our country itself and those who are engaged in the garland industry and widen it,” he said.