- Not only will the hazardous waste destroy the environment, it also poses a grave threat to people’s health
By Ranjan Katugampola and Thilini de Silva
The Court of Appeal yesterday issued an interim order preventing the garbage containers, which were imported from the UK and lying at the free trade zone at Katunayake and the Colombo Harbour, from being moved inside the country until September 20.
The court issued this order after considering a writ petition filed by the Centre For Environmental Justice seeking an order to send back the garbage containers at the Free Zone yard at Katunayake and Colombo Harbour, to their country of origin. Centre for Environmental Justice Executive Director Hemantha Sisira Kumara filed the petition in which the Central Environmental Authority (CEA), the Customs Director General and the Attorney General were named as respondents. The petition was taken up before Court of Appeal President Yasantha Kodagoda and Justice Arjuna Obeysekera yesterday. The hearing of the petition to be taken up on September 20 and the respondents were issued notices to appear in court on this day. In the writ petition, the petitioner said surgical waste, discarded plastic, mattresses and other junk were imported from the UK with the intention of disposing them in Sri Lanka.
“Not only the hazardous waste will destroy the environment, it also poses a grave threat to people’s health. The germs that emit from these waste could cause cancer and kidney complications if people were exposed to them,” the petitioner said.
He said the approval of the CEA should be sought when disposing these types of garbage. He also said no positive response was made by the CEA though he requested the authority in writing to take necessary action over the issue.
Therefore, the petitioner requested the court to issue notices on the respondents, a writ petition declaring null the documents which allowed the import of waste in violation of the National Environment Act, to issue an interim order preventing import of foreign junk and to order the re-export of the garbage containers to the UK. Counsel Ravindranath Dabare appeared on behalf of the environmental organisation under the guidance of Nilmal Wickremesinghe while state counsel Charuka Ekanayake appeared for the Attorney General’s Department.
- Approval of the CEA should be sought when disposing these types of garbage
The germs that emit from these waste could cause cancer and kidney complications if people were exposed to them