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Enhancing waste management in healthcare and agri sectors in Lanka 

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Validation Workshop on Integrated Management and Environmentally Sound Disposal of POPs Pesticides, Mercury and Waste

Having ratified the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in 2005, Sri Lanka has taken many positive steps including the preparation and updating of the National Implementation Policy (NIP) for the control of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and strengthening regulations on POP management. With the onset of COVID-19, there was an increase in the use of plastics in PPEs, while vaccination drives also increased the generation of healthcare waste. To cope with increased levels of healthcare waste, current trends are to burn waste which can generate Unintentionally Produced Persistent Organic Pollutants (U-POPs) which are hazardous carcinogenic substances.

To combat the issues arising as a result of hazardous waste, the Ministry of Environment together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka with the support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is developing a project to improve the regulatory framework on chemical management, strengthen national capacities in agricultural chemicals management, and support the transformation of healthcare waste management systems specifically to enforce regulations and minimize or eliminate releases of POPs, mercury, and other chemicals of concern and phase-out the use of mercury-based products in the health sector and improve healthcare waste management systems.

Speaking on the challenges and way forward, Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Secretary, Ministry of Environment noted that, “The cross-cutting nature and the complexity of the issues faced by the key government institutions involved regarding chemical management has made it complicated to find a single solution that works for all. This project, implemented by UNDP, allows all key institutions to realise the importance of collectively coming together to create one framework that strengthens national capacities in agricultural chemical management and healthcare waste management systems in Sri Lanka.”

Sri Lanka is also a signatory to the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which stipulates that the manufacturing of mercury-based items, including medical equipment, must cease as of January 2021. Thus, replacing mercury-based products must be coordinated to avoid hazardous waste from contaminating municipal solid waste and affecting both human health and the environment.

Highlighting UNDP’s role in supporting waste management efforts in the health and agriculture sectors in Sri Lanka, Malin  Herwig, Officer In Charge, UNDP in Sri Lanka emphasized that, “The improper management of healthcare and agricultural waste has adversely affected the health of individuals working in the healthcare and agriculture sectors, communities and the environment at large while jeopardizing food and nutrition, which is a timely concern for Sri Lanka. The project serves to improve the regulatory framework on chemical management, strengthen national capacities in agricultural chemicals management, and support the transformation of healthcare waste management systems”.

In line with this, a validation workshop was held on 15th September 2022 with over 70 participants to discuss and finalise key elements of the project with relevant stakeholders, and secure agreement and support for its implementation, to build a safe, clean and green Sri Lanka for all.



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Supreme Court Judge, President of the Appeal Court, Appeal Court Justice took oath before President

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(pic PMD)

Justice K. P. Fernando, President of the Court of Appeal took oath as a Supreme Court Judge before President Ranil Wickremesinghe this morning (06) at the President’s House in Fort.

Court of Appeal Justice Mr. Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne took oath as the President of the Court of Appeal while High Court Judge M.A.R. Marikkar was also sworn in as a Judge of the Court of Appeal before President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Minister of Justice Wijayadasa Rajapaksha, Secretary to the President Mr. Saman Ekanayake, Commanders of the Tri Forces and other officials attended this event.

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Strong earthquake hits south-eastern Turkey near Syria border

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BBC reported that a powerful earthquake has hit Gaziantep in south-eastern Turkey, near the border with Syria.

The US Geological Survey said the 7.8 magnitude tremor struck at 04:17 local time (01:17 GMT) at a depth of 17.9km (11 miles) near the city of Gaziantep.

The quake was felt in the capital Ankara and other Turkish cities, and also across the region.

Reports are coming in that several buildings have collapsed, and a number of people may be trapped.

A BBC Turkish correspondent in Diyarbakir reports that a shopping mall in the city collapsed.

Rushdi Abualouf, a BBC producer in the Gaza Strip, said there was about 45 seconds of shaking in the house he was staying in.

Turkish seismologists estimated the strength of the quake to be 7.4 magnitude.

They said that a second tremor hit the region just minutes later.

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13 A: Political parties miss Ranil’s Feb. 04 deadline for submitting their proposals

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Udaya compares constitutional threat with Indonesian crisis in late ’90s

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The government hasn’t received proposals from political parties regarding President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s decision to implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution fully.

President Wickremesinghe, on January 26, requested party leaders to furnish their suggestions, if any, by Feb. 04 as he intended to brief Parliament on Feb. 08 as regards the implementation of land and police powers.

Political parties, represented in Parliament, had not responded to President Wickremesinghe’s request so far, authoritative sources told The Island. Responding to another query, sources said that the President’s Office hadn’t received proposals in support of President Wickremesinghe’s declaration or against it.

Several political parties, including the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) spurned the President’s invitation.

Having declared his intention to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, enacted in Nov. 1987, during Thai Pongal celebrations, in Jaffna, on January 15th, 2023, President Wickremesinghe warned party leaders on January 26 he would go ahead with plans unless the parliament repealed it. Both declarations were made in the presence of Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

Sources noted that though several political parties declared opposition and some issued statements supportive of the President’s move, they haven’t submitted proposals in writing.

President Wickremesinghe prorogued Parliament, on January 27, the day after setting Feb. 04 as the deadline for political parties to submit proposals. The new session of Parliament begins on Feb. 08.Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) General Secretary, Sagara Kariyawasam, MP, told The Island that the decision to fully implement the controversial amendment shouldn’t be taken hastily.

“We are certainly not opposed to the devolution of power. However, we cannot under any circumstances support an agenda that may cause chaos,” National List MP said.

The Attorney-at-Law said so when The Island asked him whether the ruling party submitted its proposals to President Wickremesinghe.The lawmaker said that there was no requirement to do so as he on behalf of the SLPP explained to the January 26 meeting chaired by President Wickremesinghe why 13th Amendment shouldn’t be fully implemented without examining the ground situation.

“Seven past Presidents didn’t do that. Why didn’t they do so? We’ll have to study why they refrained from granting police and land powers in spite of them being part of that Amendment. If the reasons that compelled them not to do so no longer exist, we can consider the proposals,” lawmaker Kariyawasam said.

Declaring SLPP’s commitment to maximum possible devolution, MP Kariyawasam warned of dire consequences if decisions were made on the basis of language and religion.The SLPP that secured 145 seats at the last general election remains the largest party in parliament though over two dozen MPs quit the government group.

MP Kariyawasam emphasized that they couldn’t act recklessly on the issue at hand.Those who quit the SLPP parliamentary group, too, have strongly opposed the full implementation of the 13th Amendment. Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) leader Udaya Gammanpila, MP, compared the developing crisis here with Western project that divided Indonesia in the late 90s.Attorney-at-Law Gammanpila explained how Western countries exploited the economic crisis in Indonesia to compel Jakarta to grant independence to East Timor.

Addressing a public rally at Dehiwela on Feb. 02  in support of Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya contesting March 09 Local Government polls, former Power and Energy Minister said that the challenge faced by Sri Lanka owing to the continuing balance of payments and debt crises was very much similar to the circumstances leading to East Timor independence.

The 13th Amendment would split Sri Lanka on ethnic lines, the Colombo District MP warned.The MP recalled how external powers created an environment that compelled Indonesian President Suharto to resign in May 1998 to pave the way for Megawati Setiawati Sukarnoputri to win the next presidential election. The MP said that Sukarnoputri granted independence to East Timor.

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