Garbage dumping in Karadiyana; woes of residents aggravate

Published : 10:10 am  June 14, 2016 | No comments so far |  |  (1338) reads | 

Untitled-1 TEXT & PICS BY REKA THARANGANI Dumping more garbage than was permitted in Karadiyana has caused a number of environmental and social issues in the surrounding areas, residents complained. Speaking to the Daily Mirror, residents said the situation had escalated recently, as garbage due to be dumped in Meethotamulla was dumped in the area due to the floods. “We see gully bousers filled with sewerage waste being brought into the yard at night. The stench is unbearable. They don’t bring just garbage here anymore,” Dhammika Kathirarchchi, a resident in the area said. Even though the area was sprayed with disinfectants, according to officials, residents did not see a change in the condition surrounding the garbage dump, she explained. “Our children can’t play in the rain or even step in the water as they get wounds on their feet. We cant even have our families to visit our homes as they have to close their noses because of the stench.

Many of the people have left, we are here because we have nowhere to go,” she said. More garbage was dumped in the yard than what was permitted, Ronny Fonseka, another resident said. “ According to the Court order only 25 acres of the 37 acre land can be used but we see the garbage moving into the residential area on the Doolwatte side,” he said. Even though a follow up committee was appointed to look into the environmental and social impact of the dump yard, its officials most often covered up and under played the negative impact of the garbage dump, Fonseka said.

“They do not provide us with a service. We see the area being cleared up when a politician is to visit. If the real picture of Karadiyana is to be witnessed, they have to come here without prior notice,” he said. To make matters worse the Werahera Teaching Hospital was being constructed not 500 metres from the dump yard, said Pradeepa Samanthi another resident. “It is good to have a hospital in such close proximity but the garbage dump may cause a number of problems to it. It is time it was removed, specially as there is a hospital in the vicinity,” she said. The hospital, constructed for the medical students at the Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, was commissioned by the former government.

The Rs. 2,600 million hospital constructed on the 50 acre land is to have a number of operating theatres, a disease control unit, Intensive Care Units and emergency wards. When contacted Director of the Western Province Solid Waste Disposal Department Nalin Manapperuma said the Colombo Municipality had obtained a Court order to dump garbage meant for Meethotamulla for seven days after the flood situation.

“I took measures to control the stench in the area and use disinfectant to ensure that diseases did not spread. I have no power to remove the garbage dump completely, the only thing I can do is ensure the residents don’t suffer its effects too much,” he said. When questioned about the hospital being constructed in the area, Mr. Mannapperuma said they had no intention to use the land. “We will recycle the garbage and shift it soon. We do make fertilizer in it, but as it does not have a big demand we only make it when someone orders for it,” he said.

Speaking of the residents claim that the Doowawattem Battiyawatte and Borelasgamuwa areas were prone to floods as the canals in the vicinity was overgrown with an invasive plant,Mr. Mannaperuma said they hoped to clear the canals soon. “The job doesn’t come under our purview, it is the SLLRDC that should look into this, but we will clear it soon,” he said. The Director also denied claims that sewerage waste was being dumped in the land. “I tell you with responsibility that this is not the case. I would also like to say that we have only dumped garbage on the 25 acres of land,” he said.