Sri Lanka is blessed with many different types of wetland, such as estuaries, lagoons, sea grass beds, mangroves and marshes. These areas are of immense environmental, economic and social importance, yet they are increasingly under threat. Part of the marsh known as Muthurajawela near Negombo is a protected area open to the public. A boat trip allows you to make a leisurely exploration of the marsh.South of Negombo is situated the Muthurajawela marsh, which has the distinction of being the island’s largest saline peat bog. Peat is partly carbonized vegetable matter that is saturated with water. This carbonization process takes place over a long period of time: indeed the Muthurajawela marsh is believed to have originated around 5,000 BC. There is also evidence of extensive paddy farming in the area some 500 years ago. Today the marsh together with the Negombo Lagoon forms an integrated coastal ecosystem of 6,232 hectares. Muthurajawela itself spreads all the way south from the lagoon to the Kelani Ganga (River), situated at the northern tip of Colombo.