Central Environment Authority (CEA) has decided to give its last warning to the Sir John Kotelawala Defence University Hospital (KDUH) in Boralesgamuwa over continuous complaints from residents in Seelawathi Perera Mawatha, Werahera, Boralesgamuwa over health risks they have been facing due to the incinerator of KDUH. They complained that they did not have fresh air due to the disgusting smoke coming from the incinerator located two metres away from the line of residences.
CEA General Manager Hemantha Jayasinghe said the CEA officials had already visited the hospital twice and had advised them on how to dispose of the waste generated in the hospital without causing a nuisance to the public. However, the smoke of the incinerator is still coming into the houses nearby, causing breathing problems to the residents.
Jayasinghe said they would instruct the hospital management about relocation of the incinerator which is located close to the line of houses. If the hospital fails to adhere to these final instructions, he said they would take the issue to courts. According to him, the CEA has the authority to take legal action against hospitals and organisations which violate the provisions of the Environmental Protection License and a Scheduled Waste Management License. An earlier published investigation done by the Daily Mirror revealed that the KDUH had none of the above licenses.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation has worsened, and the fear among the residents of this area has increased as the KDUH is one of the hospitals selected to treat COVID-19 patients. Thirty beds in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the KDUH have been accommodating patients infected with the Coronavirus.
Several attempts made to contact the hospital management for a comment were futile. (Piyumi Fonseka and Yoshitha Perera)