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Sri Lanka to call for fresh proposals to tackle garbage threat

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will call for fresh proposals this month to solve Colombo’s mounting garbage problem which if left unchecked could pollute the capital;s main source of drinking water, Minister of Megapolis and Western Development Patali Champika Ranawaka said.

An integrated approach will be adopted as responsibility for clearing garbage in the city and suburbs was divided among several agencies including urban and municipal authorities and local government bodies, he said.

“We will call for proposals to solve Colombo city’s waste problem and identify the responsibilities off separate agencies,” he told a public forum on the government’s Western Region Megapolis Planning Project which intends to make the western province, generating almost half the island’s economic output, more liveable.

Previous proposals to transport Colombo garbage to remote dumping sites or generate power by incinerating solid waste had been unsuccessful, either because of public protests or lack of financial feasibility.

Colombo now has three ‘garbage mountains’ with the biggest dump located at Bloemendhal Road.

A proposal to take garbage by rail to dump it in disused limestone pits of a cement plant in north western Puttalam was being opposed because of the site’s proximity to the Wilpattu wild life sanctuary, Ranawaka said.

“But if there’s no solution, it will be not only Wilpatttu that will be destroyed but Colombo too if the Kelani river on which three million people depend for water is polluted by waste,” Ranawaka said.

“One of our biggest problems is that we don’t separate waste,” Ranawaka said. “If not, you can’t dispose of it easily.

“There were many proposals to generate power from waste but none were effective, a key problem being that waste is not segregated, nor do we pay for waste.”

Ranawaka said each individual generates about one kilo of waste daily but if people were not willing to pay for separating and clearing waste, the money would have to be found through indirect means like taxes on food and fuel.  (Colombo/December 02 2015)





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