Some 98 containers laden with used mattresses that have been smuggled into this country illegally from the United Kingdom were taken into custody yesterday (8) by the Customs.
During investigations, carpets, plastic and items like polythene, larvae, dead plants, fungus and other items like bird feathers had been found among them.
This stock of old mattresses had been imported without approval from the Central Environmental Authority and it was taken into custody by the Consumer Security Unit of the Sri Lanka Customs. The Customs said that it has been revealed through investigations that an institute in the Katunayake area had imported this stock of used mattresses.
Although the relevant institute had informed the Customs that they were importing used mattresses, they were later found to be a mere heap of garbage, Customs said.
They had informed the Customs that 102 containers were imported but 98 of them were recovered by yesterday (8). The Customs Consumer Security Division said that there was a doubt if it contained dangerous items detrimental to the environment. Hence, the Central Environmental Authority has informed the Customs that all these containers should be re-exported to the U.K. The CEA has informed the Customs that there would be a risk that poses a threat to the environment as a result of the used mattresses.
According to sources, a broad investigation is being carried out by Sri Lanka Customs, Central Environmental Authority, Ministry of Environment, Environment Section of the U.K. and the institute of Quarantine. (Mahinda Nissanka)