The Colombo Municipality yesterday said that it would continue to dump garbage in Meethotamulla until the completion of its transport project planned for the area.
Area residents who staged a protest on Sunday demanding that the CMC stops dumping garbage in the area said they were invited to a discussion with the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday (May 29).
The project that is centred around a railway line to transport garbage from Meethotamulla to Puttalam, has been 'expedited' the Colombo Municipality said. Speaking to the Daily Mirror Colombo Mayor A. J. M. Muzzamil informed the project had been approved by the Economic Affairs Ministry last week.
The project scheduled to be completed within one- and -half to two years will help to evacuate 350- 400 families thus providing more space for the dumping of garbage and also any constructions for the duration of the project.
“The people will be given alternative housing facilities, rent allowances or compensation. We have not received funds for evacuation from the ministry as yet, but we will begin the evacuation as soon as possible,” Muzzamil said.
When questioned if garbage would be dumped in the area in the future, the mayor said the municipality would continue dump garbage [at Meethotamulla] for the next one- and- half to two years. “Garbage will be dumped until the transportation project is completed,” he explained.
Residents in the area have been tense for the past two years, when a school in the area was forced to shut down due to the stench from the garbage dump.
Legal action also has been taken by area residents in addition to several protest campaigns demanding the municipality to stop dumping garbage in the area. Several residents have also been evacuated several months ago.
Residents who wished to remain anonymous said they would take to the streets again if a solution is not provided during the discussion this week. “They started dumping garbage in three acres and now this has expanded to 18 acres. The people here are legal occupants and they have proper deeds. We didn’t build the houses near the garbage dump, the garbage was dumped near our houses,” the resident said.
The only expectation from the discussion was a date by when the dumping would finally come to a halt. “We will take to the streets again if we don’t get a solution,” they said. (Nabeela Hussain)