Responding to a national need for proper garbage disposal, the lack of which has been linked with many critical issues including high dengue prevalence, Softlogic Finance PLC has embarked on a major effort which would eventually improve the cleanliness of a 100km roadside extent and mobilize public support for waste segregation and recycling.
The campaign, which was ceremonially initiated on March 30th by Deputy Minister of Policy Planning, Economic Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva at the Softlogic Finance’s Nawala branch saw the declaration of the country’s first ‘Softlogic Finance Clean Zone’ – which would initially encompass a 500m roadside extent to both sides of the branch.
This extent, which would soon be expanded to 1km to each side of the branch (thus 2km in total), would be cleaned at shorter intervals than before by municipal authorities, with whom Softlogic Finance is collaborating for this unique effort. Thus, once ‘Clean Zones’ are established in the vicinity of all Softlogic Finance branches and pawning centres spread across the island, with each contributing to improving the cleanliness of 2km, in total a 100km roadside extent would be made cleaner.
Softlogic Finance staff members were also mobilized in numbers to educate area residents in the vicinity of the Nawala Branch on the importance of segregating recyclable and non-recyclable garbage and proper waste disposal, including through the distribution of informative leaflets. While enlisting the support of area residents through means such as providing stickers certifying them to be members of Softlogic Finance’s ‘Clean Zone,’ to inculcate the habit of garbage segregation, the company has also placed separate bins in front of the branch to dispose plastic, bottles and non-recyclable waste.
“As a parliamentarian from the area, I appreciate Softlogic Finance PLC going beyond pursuit of profit, to genuinely assist the people in the vicinity,” Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said. “This is a commendable effort and I wish the company the best of luck in this endeavour.”
“Eventually, with the public being educated on the importance of garbage segregation and a large roadside extent of the country being made much cleaner by this programme, this programme would assume national significance,” Softlogic Finance PLC Deputy Chairman, Harris Premaratne said. “Bringing together many stakeholders, by enlisting public cooperation and the support of municipal authorities, whose assistance we appreciate, this would also substantially improve awareness.”
“I appreciate the initiative taken by Softlogic Finance to assist in the cleaning of the area, as the first step,” Nawala resident, Softlogic Finance PLC customer and former Central Environmental Authority (CEA) Chairman, G. K. Amaratunga said. “As residents, we are ready to help to extend this to even beyond Nawala, as we all need a clean country.”
“While efforts have been made repeatedly to encourage segregation of waste, which would assist greatly in the disposal of waste, the public response has not been enthusiastic thus far,” officials of the Municipal Council said. “Initiatives such as these will assist in inculcating the habit among the public are therefore commendable.”
The second phase of the campaign will be held at the company’s Senkadagala and Pamankada branches.
The launch of the ‘Clean Zone’ coincided with the ‘National Mosquito Control Week’ announced by the government from 26th March to 1st April, in an attempt to curb the Dengue menace in particular, for which improper garbage disposal has been cited as a primary reason by many experts. Lack of proper waste removal has also been linked to many other diseases, as well as water, soil and air pollution, while recycling is now accepted as a solution to conserve valuable and scarce resources.