Sun, 29 May 2022 Today's Paper

UK’s garbage crisis Sri Lanka warned to be on alert?

1 August 2019 12:06 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A A A

In this handout picture provided by Sri Lankan Customs on July 23, 2019, a customs official inspects the load of a container at a port in Colombo. Sri Lanka Customs on July 23 ordered the return of container loads of hazardous mortuary and clinical waste illegally imported into the island from Britain. 
(Photo by Handout / Sri Lankan Customs / AFP) 

In the previous article titled ‘Global waste trade : Is Sri Lanka the newest waste dumping ground?’ The Daily Mirror shed light on how 111 containers of waste reached the Katunayake Free Zone and has remained there since 2017. Over the past few weeks, the matter was discussed in Parliament and on various platforms, with some groups even going to the extent of staging protests. Escalating the gravity of the situation, suspicions were also raised as to whether the waste included decaying human remains as a result of the unbearable stench. However, with Hayleys Free Zone Ltd. refuting allegations with regards to the ownership of the goods and with its original importer Ceylon Metal Processing Corporation (CeyMPCo) also claiming that Hayleys should have exported the materials, it is still unclear as to who is responsible in solving the matter. In this backdrop, the Daily Mirror spoke to several parties to shed light on the present situation and UK’s waste crime business

  • The Court of Appeal yesterday issued a restraining order against the removal of 111 garbage containers at the Katunayake Free Zone
  • Waste crime is described as the ‘new narcotics’ in the United Kingdom

We are not in the waste dumping business - Muthuramar

In his comments regarding the latest situation, owner of CeyMPCo,  Sasikumaran Muthuramar said that they  imported used domestic mattresses, carpets and rugs for processing to recover resources for re-use as raw materials. “We are in the resource recovery industry, not the waste dumping business. For business success and by law, everything must be exported and only Hayleys Advantis as the Free Zone Operator is empowered to handle this. We only name the customer. 27 of 130 containers were  processed and re-exported through Hayleys Advantis. There were some operational delays at Free Zone which are now in the process of being rectified.”


Everything must be exported and only Hayleys Advantis as the Free Zone Operator is empowered to handle this. We only name the customer.


The BOI then requested that the containers should be re-exported by August 12. When asked if they would be able to re-export all 111 containers by then, Muthuramar said that since they have not brought in any waste, the demand does not apply to  their cargo. “We have brought in only used mattresses, carpets and rugs for processing, resource recovery and re-export. We will re-export once processing and resource recovery is completed.”

Muthuramar has been a Director at Vangaads UK, the UK-based company that sent in the containers since mid 2018. “Incidentally, I became a director after this cargo shipment was exported from  UK.” In a recent turn of events, the UK-based newspaper, The Telegraph stated that there were human remains among the waste. Muthuramar refuted allegations and said that it doesn’t apply to their cargo. 

He further said that in future they intend to make sure that Sri Lanka benefits from the resource recovery industry by lobbying state authorities and Government to set up an enabling legal framework. “We want the state to encourage and enlarge the resource recovery industry while discouraging waste dumping and other illegal activities.” 


Evidence of human remains not proven - Sunil Jayaratne 

Sri Lanka Customs spokesperson Sunil Jayaratne said that although there were allegations of human remains among the waste it hasn’t been proven. “This is probably due to the unbearable stench in the area. But we are continuing with our investigations regarding the materials.”

This is probably due to the unbearable stench in the area. But we are continuing with our investigations regarding the materials


Restraining order issued against removal of garbage containers - Ravindranath Dabare

The Court of Appeal yesterday issued a restraining order against the removal of 111 garbage containers at the Katunayake Free Zone. The order was issued after considering a petition filed by the Centre for Environmental Justice on the said containers. 

Therefore nobody can relocate the containers to any other place until the Court orders to do so. Legal action will be taken against the accused parties

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, CEJ Chairman, attorney-at-law Ravindranath Dabare said that the Government analyst will continue investigations on the materials. 

“Therefore nobody can relocate the containers to any other place until the Court orders to do so. Depending on the investigations legal action will be taken against the accused parties.”


Waste crime in the UK

Waste crime is described as the ‘new narcotics’ in the United Kingdom. Offences sometimes involve organised crime gangs and could range from illegal dumping of household and industrial waste to massive frauds involving recycling fees and landfill tax. According to a report issued by the Environmental Services Association Educational Trust and the Environmental Services Association, waste crime incurs losses to the legitimate waste industry and the tax payer of £604 million a year. As such, most serious waste crime falls into one of six categories including illegal waste sites, inaccurately described waste, illegal export of waste, illegal burning of waste, fly tipping and serious breaches of permit conditions. 


Regulatory apparatus less developed in SL 

As the Customs revealed that there was clinical waste among these mattresses including syringes, gauze materials and materials disposed from mortuaries it raised doubts as to how a developed country like UK has failed to address this issue. It was later suspected whether there were human remains among the deteriorated waste as the putrid odour kept authorities from carrying out inspections. 

In this backdrop the Daily Mirror interviewed Dr. Dominic Hogg, Chairman of Eunomia UK, an environmental consultancy firm based in Bristol who warned that a number of countries have closed their borders to imports of waste for recycling and that Sri Lanka has to be more vigilant. 

Excerpts : 

Q  What facilities does UK have in terms of disposing clinical waste?

We have a number of facilities, but it’s generally accepted there’s a shortage of capacity for dealing with these types of waste. It’s worth noting that when the capacity for treating waste is low relative to demand, prices for treatment can increase. If people have tendered for contracts expecting to treat waste for a given price, but then, the price rises, they are being pushed towards ‘difficult actions’.

The costs range from around £10-£40m per tonne, but my instinct is that it’s probably around £20 per tonne for the type of waste concerned, and to get it to Sri Lanka

Q What’s the cost involved in exporting these kind of waste materials? 

The export cost might not always be so huge – the UK imports many goods for consumption from countries such as India and China, and many others too – we don’t exports so many goods so the principle is often that ships come over half full, then they go back to their port of origin half empty – so if someone wants to export waste, it can be quite cheap. The costs range from around £10-£40m per tonne, but my instinct is that it’s probably around £20 per tonne for the type of waste concerned, and to get it to Sri Lanka. You have to compare this with the treatment costs in UK for this type of waste – which vary a lot, but which will certainly be in excess of £200 per tonne if it’s clinical waste. So, you can make a lot of money if you’ve been paid over £200 per tonne to deal with the waste, but just ship it for £20 per tonne and leave it to rot (literally). 

Q Why do they choose developing countries like Sri Lanka?

I suspect it’s because they know there is less chance of being caught because the regulatory apparatus is less well-developed (although to be honest, it’s not great here, which is why the illegal export happens so easily). It’s also because if worst came to worst, the disposal cost would probably be very cheap – how much does it cost to deal with this type of waste in Sri Lanka? If they exported to, for example, the Netherlands, the waste might be inspected, but it would have to be treated properly – it would cost a lot to treat it so the exporters would not make the money they make if nothing happens to it in Sri Lanka (or another developing country). The UK system for achieving targets on packaging waste recycling actually incentivizes exports. This has been a major problem in that it tends to undermine efforts to develop local recycling operations. As a number of countries (China, Vietnam, Thailand etc.) have closed their borders to imports of waste for recycling, so the UK has started to look for other countries. So watch out!

Q What are the legal provisions and fines imposed on these kinds of illegal practices ?

In principle, individuals found to be exporting ‘incorrectly described waste’ (as in this case)  could face two years in jail or an unlimited fine. However, these cases are not straightforward to prosecute, and the relevant body for doing so, the Environment Agency, is not well equipped for the job. There’s really no substitute for proper border checks prior to export – this is not easy since exporters can literally ‘hide’ waste in containers underneath a layer of waste that looks to be ‘of the right type’. In practice, however, I suspect few go to these lengths, and most just bank on never having their containers inspected.

The UK system for achieving targets on packaging waste recycling actually incentivizes exports

Q What challenges do you face in terms of advocating for change?

Generally, the pace of change is slow, and there are usually vested interests seeking to slow down the pace of change. Most of the changes in waste management that we need to make will impose costs on some stakeholders, and there is a need for investment in treatment technology, and especially, for recycling of secondary materials. There tends to be opposition, therefore, and the issue has not been a political priority. That is changing, however, as the public is horrified by the issues associated with marine plastic pollution, and this is helping to make waste (and environmental issues generally) more attractive to media. . 

Right now, though, the whole of the country’s political establishment is completely wrapped up in Brexit discussions, so there is little prospect of any meaningful change in law until that issue is resolved


 

 

Order Gifts to Sri Lanka. See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Vegetables, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

Sell your vehicle & house fast with hitad.lk only cost is Rs.400, Advertise in Hitad.lk for free to sell your mobile phone. Want to sell your Pet, Advertise for Free in hitad.lk Search for Houses in Sri Lanka and find the best place through Hitad.lk find your best tuition place. Find the best partner for you, visit hitad.lk Find anything at any time hitad.lk.

  Comments - 0

Order Gifts to Sri Lanka. See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Vegetables, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

Sell your vehicle & house fast with hitad.lk only cost is Rs.400, Advertise in Hitad.lk for free to sell your mobile phone. Want to sell your Pet, Advertise for Free in hitad.lk Search for Houses in Sri Lanka and find the best place through Hitad.lk find your best tuition place. Find the best partner for you, visit hitad.lk Find anything at any time hitad.lk.


Add comment

Comments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.

Reply To:

Name - Reply Comment




Order Gifts to Sri Lanka. See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Vegetables, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

Sell your vehicle & house fast with hitad.lk only cost is Rs.400, Advertise in Hitad.lk for free to sell your mobile phone. Want to sell your Pet, Advertise for Free in hitad.lk Search for Houses in Sri Lanka and find the best place through Hitad.lk find your best tuition place. Find the best partner for you, visit hitad.lk Find anything at any time hitad.lk.


Rashini Ready to Fight Cancer, but needs help

Sri Lanka is officially bankrupt and on the precipice of starvation. Fuel que

Student’s basic right to education trampled due to ‘hair issue’

Education is a fundamental right guaranteed by the UN Charter and the Constit

Sajith will lead SL soon but this time he failed in his decision making - Harin

Tourism Minister and SJB MP Harin Fernando has come out strong on his decisio

Shocking inside stories of the sugar scam

In the backdrop of former Finance Minister Ali Sabry’s proposed plan to inc