Government introduces long-term, effective measures to address the nationwide crisis of waste management
Turning a new leaf in its wake, there seems to be a ray of hope for effective garbage management as the Government plans to introduce long-term measures to address the islandwide garbage crisis in a much organized manner. From the disastrous tragedy of the Meethotamulla garbage dump to the lack of a proper solid waste management plan and the environmental pollution caused, Sri Lanka has faced plenty of challenges in seeking solutions to address the garbage crisis. Therefore, it’s indeed glad tidings to hear that the Government has finally decided to take a firm stance on addressing the garbage issue with long-term measures, which reflects on brighter prospects with regard to solid waste management.
“Areas are maintained and there’s no piling of garbage as before”
- Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) Commissioner
The Municipality along with the assistance of the Environmental Police and the Army is playing a proactive role in ensuring that waste disposal is carried out smoothly in the suburbs
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) Commissioner V.K.A. Anura said that the CMC will be signing an agreement with the Western Power Company on September 14 this year, as a step forward in addressing the garbage issue more effectively in the future. “According to the agreement, the company which is expected to receive 700 tons of garbage on a daily basis will be responsible for carrying out a project where the accumulated garbage will be used for the production of long-term power generation. In addition to this project, that is currently under way, the Municipality along with the assistance of the Environmental Police and the Army is playing a proactive role in ensuring that waste disposal is carried out smoothly in the suburbs. If you look around the Colombo suburbs, you would have noticed that most areas are maintained clean and there isn’t piling up of garbage as before. We have also initiated several community based awareness programmes to raise more awareness on the need for garbage management and its proper disposal. The public will also have to play a cooperative role to help mitigate this problem,” he added.
Stringent, long-term measures for effective waste management
Media Secretary of Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development,
Here we discuss the tasks they have carried out within the day. This includes an update on the amount of garbage collected and disposed within the day, the number of lorries that were dispatched to collect garbage daily
When inquired about the government’s future plans for long-term waste management, Media Secretary of Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development Dhanushka Ramanayake said that since the official responsibility of addressing the problem of garbage management was entrusted to them recently, the Ministry has taken a firm stand with regard to the implementation of a number of initiatives for a positive progress on the said subject. “There were heaps of garbage piled up at different locations within Colombo. The responsibility of collecting and disposing of garbage within Colombo city limits rests with the Colombo Municipality along with Abans and Carekleen.
As a foremost step, we instructed them to ensure that the piled up garbage in Colombo suburbs should be immediately removed within a period of four days. Since July 6, we call a meeting at 7.00 p.m. at the CMC premises daily with the participation of senior officials of the Municipality, Police OICs, the environment police, Public Health Inspectors, engineers and representatives from Abans and Carekleen. Here we discuss the tasks they have carried out within the day. This includes an update on the amount of garbage collected and disposed within the day, the number of lorries that were dispatched to collect garbage daily, how many individuals were fined for illegal disposal of garbage and an update on the number of cases filed due to such misconduct on a daily basis” Ramanayake said.
According to him, officials representing the Environmental Protection Unit of the tri forces have been deployed in selected areas, to monitor the situation closely on a daily basis. It’s their duty to take pictures of the condition of regular garbage dumping sites within Colombo between the hours of 4.00 a.m - 6.00 a.m in the morning, everyday. A similar routine of taking photographs of the same sites during the evening hours between 3.00 – 5.00 p.m. will be carried out by these officials. This helps in keeping track of whether the waste accumulated within the day was removed or not by garbage collectors. The progress of collecting garbage is thus monitored very closely in all areas within the Colombo suburb. In any case, if the daily waste isn’t collected by the garbage collectors, the surveillance officer in charge will take measures to send a multi media message or a message via the Whatsup or Viber social apps to the relevant authority in the area responsible for garbage collection, along with a picture of the piled up garbage site immediately.
This is done as a means of alerting them of the current situation. However, this initiative has been expanded further, beyond the city limits of Colombo. In addition to the areas in Colombo, these measures are also carried out in Dehiwela, Mt. Lavinia, Moratuwa, from Negombo Road to Kelaniya Municipality, Kotte, Kaduwela and Kolonnawa. Except for the garbage that gets accumulated on a daily basis, measures have also been taken to ensure that the garbage doesn’t get piled up anywhere for days.
Construction work for two waste-to-power plants commenced at Muthurajawela under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena
“Arrangements have been made for the display of a notice board in every collecting point, apartment area and in villages, specifying the days when garbage is collected, how the garbage should be segregated and disposed according to the days and the time schedule linked with garbage collection in the respective areas. A hotline is made available for public complaints or suggestions; especially if the garbage collectors fail to turn up for waste collection at any location. It should be noted that Abans or Carekleen will be fined a maximum of Rs. 100,000 for a day, if the garbage isn’t collected from any given area they are assigned with. We have also initiated a plan to ensure that the garbage collection, that falls under the direct purview of the Colombo Municipality, runs smoothly,” he said. As a means of ensuring this, he said that a Key Performance Indicator will be introduced soon to monitor Government officials of the Colombo Municipality. Further career opportunities, salary increments and promotions for such officers will be determined based upon this indicator.
“We have already repaired the garbage collecting tractors and lorries in order to offer a much effective service. This initiative also included the attachment of a GPS tracking system and a colour wash for the vehicles. Moreover, there are certain locations in Colombo where objects wrought of iron are simply dumped. These objects mostly include broken remnants of three wheelers and lorries and other vehicles. In most cases there is no one to claim them. A notice was issued by the Colombo Municipality to houses around such locations, requesting to collect their objects within a period of fourteen days. In the event no one comes forward to claim their properties, these objects will be moved over to another location by us,” he added.
- As a foremost step, we instructed them to ensure that the piled up garbage in Colombo suburbs should be immediately removed
- Officials representing the Environmental Protection Unit of the tri forces have been deployed in selected areas
- The progress of collecting garbage is thus monitored very closely in all areas within the Colombo suburb
- Arrangements have been made for the display of a notice board in every collecting point
Energy from WasteA key step forward in waste management
According to a recent press release issued by the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development, modern techniques including recycling methods-on par with developed countries- will be employed in the process of handling waste management. The employing of such techniques will be done by giving equal priority to how best recycling of waste can be made use of and how environment friendly, the disposal process is going to be. Keeping focus on this method, the Government has recognized Sanitary Landfilling System as a long term solution for garbage management in the future. A location in Aruwakkalu, Puttaam has been chosen for this purpose.
The sanitary landfills will be carried out in pits that were left abandoned following its excavation of limestone for cement production. The feasibility study and Environmental Impact Assessment for the project have already been completed in this regard. While setting the background for this project is currently under way, it should also be noted that the Ministry has taken the initiation to introduce a project aimed at producing energy from waste. “We had an international competitive bidding for the ‘Waste to Energy ’programme. Out of the 194 bidders who applied for bidding, we have selected three technically, financially and socially viable investors and Muthurajawela and Karadiyana have been selected as the ideal locations for the project.
Keeping focus on this method, the Government has recognized Sanitary Landfilling System as a long term solution for garbage management in the future. A location in Aruwakkalu, Puttaam has been chosen for this purpose
We have already kick started the construction work for two waste-to-power plants at Muthurajawela under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena. These waste-to-power plants officially commenced on August 10. Megapolis and Western Development Minister Champika Ranawaka and several ministers participated at the inauguration of this event. The next project is scheduled be held in Karadiyana on August 17, this week” Ramanayaka added.
KHCT Lanka Jang and Western Power have been recognized as the two main companies that would invest on the programme. According to the agreement signed between the Waste Management Authority of the Western Province and KHCT Lanka Jang, the company is expected to receive 700 tons of solid waste on a daily basis from the Authority. Meanwhile, the Colombo Municipal Council will be responsible in making arrangements for the Western Power Company to obtain solid waste from them. A capacity of 10 Megawatts is to be produced by each company by means of waste, which will be connected to the National Grid eventually. Therefore, an overall aggregate of 20 Megawatts of power production is expected from both companies, which will be contributed to the National Grid.
The project, commenced with a total investment of 27 billion rupees, is expected to conclude its’ construction work within a span of twenty four months. The successful completion of the project would create the ideal platform for a better and viable solution to battle the challenges of waste management whilst easing the nation of its burden faced by garbage mismanagement, environment pollution and the health risks associated with it.