Did British waste end up at collapsed Meethotamulla garbage dump?

English waste mountain bigger than thought

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Civil society activist Saman Ratnapriya yesterday said that British waste material had been surreptitiously brought here in spite of Sri Lanka struggling to cope with its own garbage problem.

Addressing the media at Rajagiriya, public health worker Ratnapriya called for a wider inquiry into importation of garbage containers over a period of time.

Ratnapriya, while blaming the previous Rajapaksa administration for issuing a gazette notification, in 2013, admitted that he wasn’t sure when the importation of British garbage had begun. According to him, the previous dispensation had issued the gazette on July 11, 2013 doing away with all controls and restrictions in place to prevent such sordid operations.

Ratnapriya recalled how people had opposed efforts to shift the garbage around and the setting up of Aruwakkalu landfill following the collapse of Meethotamulla garbage mountain on April 14, 2017.

More than 32 men, women and children perished and some disappeared.

Blaming the current dispensation for allowing the importation of garbage containers to continue, Ratnapriya estimated the number of containers allowed in and so far released at 225 and 110, respectively.

The civil society activist said that as the minister in charge of environment President Maithripala Sirisena should take immediate measures to rectify the situation.

Claiming that the garbage containers had been brought in accordance with gazette issued by the previous government, Ratnapriya urged the media to go flat out against those responsible for massive garbage scam.

He said that British garbage had been both held at the Colombo harbour as well as at the Katunayake Export Processing Zone (EPZ).

Well informed sources told The Island that those who had perpetrated the crime probably planned to move the stuff to Puttalam. The Sri Lanka-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, too, could also result in foreign garbage being dumped here, they said.

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