The mounting clinical waste in coastal areas off Puttalam has washed ashore from India, the Maritime Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) confirmed yesterday.
Speaking to Daily Mirror, MEPA CEO Dr. Terney Pradeep Kumara said clinical waste could be found in Kanda Duwa, Cinna Padu, Periya Padu and Palliwatta Padu in Puttalam.
“Residents in these areas complained to the MEPA that 50 to 60 kilograms of clinical waste were found washed ashore. Expired medicines, bottles, polythene packages, syringes and surgical hand gloves were among them,” he said.
Mr. Kumara alleged that expired clinical waste would have been released to the rivers and streams in Tamil Nadu and that it would have reached Sri Lankan soil due to sea currents.
“We cannot prevent clinical waste from coming to local beaches because it is a natural process,” he said.
However, the MEPA warned the public not to collect clinical waste without any safety precaution, and not to swim in the seas off the coast where clinical waste gathered.
“Just like clinical waste released by India arrived in Sri Lanka, effluents released by us may reach the Maldives. Clinical waste is often identified by labels,” he said. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)