A dive into the cause of Sri Lanka’s garbage crisis

A dive into the cause of Sri Lanka’s garbage crisis

Written by Staff Writer

16 Apr, 2019 | 8:56 am

COLOMBO (News 1st): Sri Lanka is currently going through a developing garbage crisis. On top of that, several garbage dumpsites have gone up in flames in the past two weeks.

Is this because Sri Lanka does not have a garbage management policy? Or is it due to the mere negligence of the authorities?

The question must not remain unanswered. Especially because the acts of the corrupt officials in Colombo are now being revealed.

The net weight of the garbage that is gathered in Western Province alone is at 3,500 metric tonnes. Most of that garbage is gathered within the borders of the Colombo Municipal Council. That garbage is disposed under the supervision of the Colombo Municipal Council using two other private companies.

These ‘two other companies’ had been given priority amidst many other companies when bids were called for the tender of garbage disposal. The matter was revealed by a ‘special audit’ carried out by the Auditor General. The audit further indicates that all other companies have been named as ‘unqualified’.

When comparing the cost announced by the Colombo Municipal Council and these two companies, there is a stark difference of 8% to 53%.

The disposal of garbage in Meethotamulla began in 2009. The 2-acre garbage dump ended up collapsing on April 14, 2017, claiming 32 lives. Although resources were provided to purchase heavy vehicles to press the garbage, the authorities have completely neglected that by using third-party vehicles on a rental basis.

Rs. 264,400,000 were allocated in 2016 to purchase the relevant vehicles. But only Rs. 65,788,427 were spent on the purchase.

What is more questionable is the fact that the tenure of 6 vehicles used by the Municipal Council has been extended by another year, while the CMC received 12 waste transportation vehicles from Japan on March 8, 2016.

The Auditor General points out that there are no fair reasons for this action taken by the authorities.

The special audit report further reveals that the two companies which provided the vehicles on a rental basis have no license to perform the necessary tasks.

The CMC had allocated Rs. 100 million in 2014 and Rs. 75 million in 2016 to purchase a plot of land to recycle plastic and polythene. However, no land has been purchased up to date. The only thing that has happened throughout the years, is a handful of private companies reaping benefits from the large sums of money allocated towards these projects.

The report also says that, although Rs. 2 million was allocated through the annual budget of the CMC towards the recycling of solid waste, no expenses have been made in that regard from 2012 to 2016.

Amidst fraud and corruption, a Japanese specialist submitted a report to the government following the Meetotamulla disaster. But that report has not been made public yet. It has not been included in the special audit carried out by the Auditor General’s Department.

These incidents have transpired during the tenure of the former Mayor of the Colombo A.J.M Muzammil (UNP). The post of the Municipal Commissioner was held by Bhadrani Jayawardena and the current Municipal Commissioner V.K. Anura.

Shouldn’t they provide answers to these allegations?

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