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Section I

Public Participation in Environmental Assessment of Development Projects - The Sri Lankan Situation


N. T. S. Wijesekera ,

University of Moratuwa, LK
About N. T. S.

Professor of Civil Engineering and the Chairman of the International Center for Geoinformatics Applications and Training,

BSc. Eng. (Hons) Sri Lanka. PG Dip (Moratuwa). M. Eng. (Tokyo). D. Eng. (Tokyo), C. Eng., MICE (London). FIE (Sri Lanka)

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N. C. Weerakkody

Katunayaka Technical Training Institute, LK
About N. C.

lecturer, Member of the Institution of Engineers

Masters Degree holder in Water Resources Engineering from University of Moratuwa

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Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) are meant to identify and evaluate the impacts of projects on the environment and interventions in it. The Environmental Assessment Process is to ensure that environmental concerns are incorporated in development projects for the well being of the environment and this requires public participation throughout the project development process. In literature there are many efforts that had been exerted to identify the rights and necessities with respect to public participation. Also comments have been made’ by many indicating poor public participation in the EIA process and stating the need to improve the same. Presently there is a need to quantify the present level of public participation in projects in order to enable the understanding of the realities of public participation and to ensure that the best development option is implemented at the earliest possible time.


This study was done to look at a significant number of EIA and IEE projects of various Sri Lankan - Authorities that underwent the approval procedures. Twenty-eight EIA and IEE project reports were studied along with the administrative correspondence files maintained at the environmental authorities. The participation in terms of the sectors, stages, issues, and comments made by the public were looked at and quantifications were done. From the numbers participated it was revealed that the overall public involvement in development projects is very low and the maximum overall participation in these projects is around 42%. The public involvement in scoping was found to be Zero in the studied projects. In EIA projects the public were more concerned about the social impacts.


There is a need to increase public participation irrespective of the nature of its participation. Then the quality of participation in national projects should be emphasized to ensure the sustainability concerns of all development projects.

How to Cite: Wijesekera, N.T.S. and Weerakkody, N.C., 2006. Public Participation in Environmental Assessment of Development Projects - The Sri Lankan Situation. Engineer: Journal of the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka, 39(2), pp.7–16. DOI:
Published on 20 Apr 2006.
Peer Reviewed


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