Champika calls for separate authority to manage garbage

Published : 8:14 am  April 21, 2017 | No comments so far |  |  (314) reads | 

By Lahiru Pothmulla
Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka yesterday called for the setting up of a separate ‘Central Garbage Management Authority’ to streamline garbage disposal across the country. He also said garbage disposal should be made an essential service. 

Addressing a news confereLATE-CITY-DM-1-2nce held at the ministry flanked by Deputy Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna and ministry officials over the Meethotamulla mishap, Minister Ranawaka said local government (LG) bodies alone can’t solve the garbage issue and therefore, it was vital to have a Central Garbage Management Authority to find solution to the issue.   

He said people asked what role the Urban Development Authority (UDA) played when it comes to the issue of garbage and said it had none.  

“The UDA has no authority over garbage collecting or dumping. It’s the LG bodies including the urban councils, municipal councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas which are legally bound to manage garbage. However, given the specialty, the Western province has its own Waste Management Authority,” he said.   

He said the UDA plays a role when calling for tenders from international firms and companies to implement projects to manage waste in the country as LG bodies are not allowed to call for international tenders.   

“However, we will not allow the LG bodies to manage the garbage releasing from the Colombo International Financial City, the Technical City and the Service City. We will create a special plant in Muthurajawela to recycle them,” he said.   

Meanwhile, he said people should be sensitive over the garbage issue in Colombo and should not reject garbage after labeling them as ‘Colombo garbage’ as it was the capital of the country.   

“After all, there are only 650,000 residents in Colombo and about 1 million people visit the Capital daily. The visitors are responsible for a majority of garbage released in Colombo Municipality. It’s time for authorities to take action without giving into so called protestors on road who oppose garbage from Colombo,” he said.  

He said residents at Karadiyana and other places are being misled and provoked by quack engineers and so called protestors. The minister said these protesters should not be allowed to take the future of the country’s children into their hands.   

“This is a habit of our country. People are misled by opportunists opposed to coal power plants and hydro power plants as well in the past. Today, we have the coal plant after a long dragging without any negative consequences to the environment as claimed. Colombo garbage issue is the same. Strict action should be taken. No point of wasting time,” he said.   Commenting on the Aruwakkalu garbage management plan proposed by the previous government, the minister said it was a commendable project but it hit a snag due to environmental issues along the process.   

“People should realize that not all arrangements had been made before the change of the government to implement the project. Only the cabinet approval was granted a couple of months before the presidential election. Wildlife department raise some impacts the project could make to the environment. However, we are looking into these concerns and hoping to complete the project within two years,” he said.   

He said the Meethotamulla garbage dump was still unstable as it is situated on a marshy land and rehabilitation of the dump should be carried out gradually. “The dump will be turn into an urban garden along with the Bloemendhal dump in three years,” he said.   

Meanwhile, the minister said 98 houses would be given to Meethotamulla victims today (21) and they have identified a risk zone in the area which includes 100 houses. “Families of these houses will be removed,” he said.   

Several representatives of firms which are setting up garbage recycling plants in Muthurajawela and Karadiyana said they could initiate operations within two years and that some of them are still waiting for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports.