Written by Keshala Dias
10 Oct, 2016 | 8:47 pm
Day to day life came to a standstill in Badulla on Monday October 10 as the area was engulfed in noxious gases and smoke. Residents had to don face masks in order to protect themselves from the gases.
While cool mists are a regular occurrence in the Badulla town, the area was today covered in smoke due to a fire which broke out at a waste recycling centre on Sunday, October 9.
The landfill which has accumulated waste for over thirty years has been a cause for concern for residents in surrounding areas, due to the menace of flies and mosquitoes and the risk of skin disease.
Today however, smoke emanating from the area posed a far more present danger to residents.
The Municipal Commissioner in Badulla Wijeysiri Randeniya announced that the public should cover their mouths and noses, to protect themselves from noxious gases that could emanate from the scene of the fire.
“Our children cannot breathe, we are facing severe difficulties”, said a resident.
The residents went on to add that all the plastic and polythene are burning and that they have brought in a water bowser last evening but no steps have been taken since then.
“School children are receiving treatment from the OPD”, an individual added.
While the waste recycling centre was established under the Badulla Waste Management Project initiated by the previous government, leftover waste was transported to the Kohilakandura area in Alugolla.
However, this was stopped due to strong protest from the residents of Kohilakandura.
As such following the separation of recyclables, the remaining waste was dumped within the premises itself, creating a mountain of waste in Badulla second only to the one in Kolonnawa.
Waste accumulated at this location, adjacent to the main sports ground, botanical garden, walking paths and a school, for two years.
As a result of negligence and inaction of the Municipal Commissioner and other authorities, today the residents of Badulla and visitors to the area, were forced to undergo the unpleasant and unhealthy experience of inhaling methane.
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