Following continuous reporting by the Daily Mirror over health risks faced by a group of residents behind the Sir John Kotelawala Defence University Hospital (KDUH) in Boralesgamuwa due to the smoke emanating from the hospital incinerator, the hospital management has finally decided to bring about changes to the incinerator and the clinical waste burning space of the hospital.
The decision to increase the height of the chimney and completely seal the waste burning area was transpired during a meeting held yesterday at KDU, Ratmalana in the presence of KDU Vice Chancellor Maj. Gen. Milinda Peiris, several other officials attached to the KDU, two residents and the Daily Mirror writer.
During yesterday’s meeting, it was also learnt that the Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Defence had held a meeting with KDU officials after the Daily Mirror Eye investigative piece regarding this incinerator issue. They have been informed to look into the issue and take necessary preventive methods.
Director – Medical Services of the KDU, Brigadier Dr. Saman Thilakaratne at the meeting said the repair work to increase the chimney’s height by another 16 feet which will make it totally 76 feet in height, will start in the next few days.
“The incinerator was built according to instructions we received from the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau (CECB). However, we have realised the smoke is going to a few nearby houses. That is why we are now taking preventive methods,” Brig. Thilakaratne said.
Despite previous action taken by the management to prevent the smoke emission, by covering the waste burning area with roofing sheets, the smoke was still coming out. As hopefully a long term solution, Brig. Thilakaratne instructed the officials to completely seal the area.
Meanwhile, responding to the grievances of the residents, Vice Chancellor Maj. Gen. Milinda Peiris made it clear that the KDUH only offered the government to accommodate COVID-19 patients if there was an emergency situation in the country, yet thus far there had been no COVID-19 patients treated at the hospital. (Piyumi Fonseka and Yoshitha Perera)