The best solution for Colombo's garbage disposal quagmire was given by former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the government should implement it without being fixated on who will receive the credit, MP Udaya Gammanpila said today.
He said dumping garbage at Karadiyana or somewhere else was not the best solution to this crisis.
He said Mr. Rajapaksa had suggested that the garbage collected daily within the Colombo Municipal Council limits and those already piled up at Meethotamulla and Bloemendhal be transported by train to the Aruwakkalu limestone quarry in Puttalam.
“Mr. Rajapaksa had suggested that the limestone pits be turned to ‘sanitary land fills’ prior to depositing garbage in them. Cabinet approval was given to the proposal in August 2014 and Rs.2 billion allocated in the 2015 budget for the project. However, with the change of government, the project was abandoned,” he told a news conference organised by the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya.
Mr. Gammanpila said the government had claimed that the project had hit a snag after the Wildlife Department had opposed it because some of the limestone pits were situated within the Wilpattu National Park buffer zone.
"Although unauthorised human activities are banned within a buffer zone, activities approved by the authorities can be carried out or otherwise the buffer zone could be moved 300 meters towards the perimeter of the national park,” he said.
Referring to the Megapolis and Western Development Ministry’s announcement that it would not permit garbage to be dumped on Urban Development Authority (UDA) lands, Mr. Gammanpila said it was not a solution and the UDA should assist the local government (LG) authorities by providing expertise when disposing garbage.
"The LG bodies are not capable of handling this crisis alone. This is an act of side stepping the issue,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Gammanpila said western Province Chief Minister and Megapolis Minister don’t see eye to eye when it came to the garbage crisis in Colombo. “However, the President also remains silent by allowing the two to work things out which will never happen,” he said. (Lahiru Pothmulla)