Signs of the garbage crisis prolonging

Signs of the garbage crisis prolonging

Written by Staff Writer

10 Aug, 2019 | 7:58 pm

Colombo (News 1st): Garbage accumulated within Colombo city limits continues to be disposed at Aruwakkalu. Another 17 trucks carrying accumulated garbage were dispatched to the Aruwakkalu Sanitary Landfill site at around 11.30 last night.

Colombo Municipal Council Commissioner Palitha Nanayakkara said another 7 trucks carrying garbage were dispatched to Aruwakkalu this morning. Since the inception of its construction, area residents protested against the sanitary landfill in Aruwakkalu raising concerns of the unavoidable environmental and social damage.

Against such a backdrop, on the 1st of November 2018, the relevant authorities and locals of Aruwakkalu were brought together to one platform, through the Gammadda Pradeshiya Mandapaya, which was held at the Serakkuliya village in Puttalam. Despite the various responses by authorities at that point, the foreseen environmental damages have now been realized.

On the 1st of November 2018, former project director Lal Fernando of the Aruwakkalu sanitary landfill noted that prior to moving the garbage from Colombo, they will compress the waste under high pressure and will remove all liquid content and process the waste. He noted that the waste will be packed and compressed and will be given to elephants for consumption.

The relevant authorities who once promised that all waste will be processed and disposed of in a methodical manner, now avert from their initial pledges.

However, on the 8th of August, 2019 speaking to the media Lal Fernando noted that it is true that they separate polythene from waste during the basic stage of recycling. He notes that they can only separate polythene and plastics to a certain limit. Taking the example of separating food wrapped in a lunch sheet he added that if they are to re-do this process they will have to incur a huge cost.  Fernando noted that there are methods and processes to do this, however, for a country like Sri Lanka, the cost is too much to bear. He said, therefore, they must consider the practical aspect in this regard.

Chairman of the Department of Land Reclamation and Development Roshan Gunawardena questioned as to why they should incur additional costs by transporting garbage mixed with water? He pointed out that this is why they compress the garbage by processing it through a transfer station. He noted that in their station based in Kelaniya, they use machinery to remove water from the garbage as much as possible, however, this process is not finished as yet. He noted that because of this they are compelled to transport the garbage which contains water.

Against such a backdrop, it is evident that the relevant authorities have failed to address this issue with a solution that is not just limited to words. Garbage within Colombo city limits continues to get accumulated in several places.

Municipal Council Commissioner Palitha Nanayakkara noted that due to the prevailing weather condition within Colombo city limits, the collection of garbage has been quite difficult. Water mixed with garbage is a major issue when transporting the waste to the dumping sites. He said, therefore, they believe that it will take longer than expected to dispose of the waste.

He requested the residents within Colombo city limits to separate waste when disposing of garbage. Nanayakkara stressed that they will only accept waste that has been separated methodically as instructed and that the municipal council will not accept any waste that has not been separated.

Political views

UPFA MP Arundika Fernando speaking on the matter noted that with ineffective and improper implementations of Rosy Senanayaka, they now see how efficient the work of the so-called iron lady. He added that the waste being moved to Aruwakkalu is mixed with water and a cost of Rs. 90,000 is incurred per lorry to transport this waste. The parliamentarian stressed that there is a huge financial scam taking place.

He added that the waste is not separated or processed. He noted that even though they continuously said biodegradable waste will not be disposed at the sanitary facility in Aruwakkalu, at present this is the unfortunate situation.

Chairman of the Viyath Pavura Organization Venerable Professor Medagoda Abeythissa Thero noted that there is a system to dispose waste and produce compost is currently in place in Kerawalapitiya, however, politicians are not allowing anyone to use this facility and the waste is being moved to Aruwakkalu instead. He noted that the garbage is moved to Aruwakkalu to make money through commissions and there has been political intervention to make this country a garbage dump.

The Thero added that Sri Lanka is such that action is being taken against those who stood against the attempts made to use a bacteria introduced by the US, to destroy the waste in our country. He noted that what we must understand is that if this bacteria was released in Sri Lanka, nothing will-mix with the soil naturally.

Environmentalist Jayantha Wijesinghe notes that the Chairman of the Wattala Pradeshiya Sabha has approved or permitted a clinical waste disposal project in a plot of land belonging to the council, in Kerwalapitiya. He questioned; “What is this clinical waste and from where does it come from? Is this clinical waste being monitored properly?”

He added that the garbage containers were imported from foreign lands into Sri Lanka and there is a risk that these imported waste materials may be disposed along with the clinical waste in Kerwalapitiya or Muthurajawela. He notes that at present, no legal action is being taken against those who import garbage from overseas, and those who dispose of garbage without any proper and scientific basis.

Wattala PS debates about the waste material project

Meanwhile, a debate arose at the Wattala Pradeshiya Sabha about a waste material project implemented in the Kerawalapitiya reserve in Muthurajawela. A group of MPs of the Pradeshiya Sabha alleged that the chairman had issued a permission letter without the approval of the council, for a chemical waste disposal project to be implemented adjacent to the Kerawalapitiya garbage site.

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