Written by Nathasha De Alwis
30 Jul, 2019 | 10:07 pm
Colombo (News 1st): The issue pertaining to the waste containers in Sri Lanka was discussed during the Face the Nation program yesterday (July 29). Speaking at the program Civil Activist Nalaka Jayaweera noted that this has nothing to do with recycling, this is simply garbage. He added that what is happening here is when the country gets the container from Europe it gets paid a minimum to US$ 20 to 30,000.
Jayaweera noted that the government is bringing it here just for the sake of BOI purposes, export certain few items back to some other part of the world and use the same BOI as a dumping yard to dump the balance in Sri Lanka.
Adding to this Attorney-at-Law Jagath Gunawardena emphasized that no Sri Lankan law at present allows any import of waste materials although the CEA website says so. He noted that the website is in contradiction to the national environment act, therefore, they have to all abide by the law. He added that even if the website is wrong it does not mean anyone can get the authority to import any garbage or waste material to this country.
He went onto note that the National Environment Act does not have any authority to allow any import of waste material to this country therefore if someone makes that interpretation it is illegal and that interpretation does not carry any weight.
Speaking at the program Social Entrepreneur Eranda Ginige noted;
“I’m particularly mentioning this, the way that Hayleys has stored this waste material, it is open to air, open to the elements, rainfall drops on it, its moldy, liquids are seeping out, now any proper recycler or processor whoever needs to have proper storage facilities as the minimum to start an operation like this. The BOI is also responsible in order to make sure that, these BOI approved companies have limited facilities. Hayleys cannot get away so easily and say it is somebody else’s business. All around our coasts we have a huge plastic problem, our oceans are grossly polluted with plastics. Sri Lanka already has a huge problem of waste and on top of that if the country is actually importing waste like this, through various means waste is smuggled. Now Sri Lanka is one of the top 10 plastic polluters in the world. Who knows maybe this is the plastic coming in from the developing countries which are dumped to our landfills and oceans.”
Civil Activist Nalaka Jayaweera doubts as to why the Aruwakkalu is being quickly transformed into a dumping yard in the recent past. He noted that we do not know if whether the Aruwakkalu is also a part of this operation. He added that they would have planned to get the garbage in, produce some sort of a few items for the BOI to show that they are re-exporting and take the majority of the stuff to Aruwakkalu,
Adding to this Superintendent of Sri Lanka Customs Ashraff Samsudeen said;
“We should take immediate action to send this cargo to a particular destination. The investigation is sufficient enough to move for a custom inquiry, most probably within a very few days we can go for a customs inquiry and we can penalize the persons and we can come to a conclusion. But we have to make this land a better place to live for you, me and the entire human beings. As a citizen we have an obligation, as a businessmen, we have an obligation, and as a government servant, we have an obligation.”
Meanwhile, Lecturer of the University of Jaffna Selvarasa Raveendran noted that they have received information that clinical waste has been brought to Jaffna. He noted that they suspect that they are attempting to dispose of garbage here and that facilities have been set to dump foreign waste. He questioned; “How did a container carrying waste material arrive at the Thelippalai hospital?”
The Court of Appeal today (July 30) decided it will issue an order tomorrow (July 31), with regard to the petition filed by Center for Environmental Justice over imported waste. The petition was taken up before the President of the Court of Appeal Yasantha Kodagoda and Justice Arjuna Obeysekera today.
The judges decided the order of the case pertaining to notices issued on Hayleys Free Zone Ltd, E.T. L. Pvt Colombo Ltd, The Board of Investment, Central Environment Authority and the Director-General of Sri Lanka Customs, will also be given tomorrow.
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