Speedy action on garbage disposal
Officials told to address illicit sand mining,
COLOMBO: President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday directed the
Environmental Ministry to take appropriate and speedy action on garbage
disposal, Human-Elephant-Conflict and illicit sand mining.
Presiding at the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry Progress
Review meeting at Temple Trees, President Rajapaksa reiterated that
protection and conservation of the environment was of paramount
importance to the nation and therefore all measures should be taken to
eliminate or at least minimise all environmental hazards encountered by
the people, especially garbage disposal which has virtually become a
menace in Colombo, Kandy and other urban areas.
He said that in consideration of its special importance, an efficient
and knowledgeable Minister was appointed for the arduous task of solving
the garbage crisis and the other daunting challenges confronted by the
President Rajapaksa underscored the significance of erecting and
installing 'transmission Towers' at one given location, in such a manner
that all such transmissions could be regulated and controlled by the
Central Environmental Authority as well, for a prescribed levy, instead
of the present practice where such 'towers' are mushrooming by the day,
invariably at awkward and unsuitable locations, causing environmental
hazards and much inconvenience to the public.
He was of the view that sanctuaries such as Yala and Wilpattu which
are almost abandoned now, should be spruced up to re-attract both local
and foreign tourists, especially Wilpattu.
He also noted that he is always informed that the Treasury funds were
dwindling, as much revenue which otherwise came to the coffers of the
Treasury, were now being directed to the individual Boards which were
not utilising same to its best capacity.
Environment and Natural Resources Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka
briefed the President on the greatest challenges faced by his ministry,
prioritising them under garbage disposal, internal water pollution,
ocean and coast pollution, elephant-human conflict, illicit sand-mining,
air pollution and climatic changes among others.
Minister Ranawaka was of the view that around 16,000 MT of garbage
was produced in the country and only 2,600 MT was being collected by the
relevant authorities in a systematic manner. Of this quantity, around
35,000 tons has been dumped in Bloemandhal, and the balance in places
such as Attidiya.
"In Colombo itself, around 600 tons of garbage is collected daily.
Twenty five per cent of this is collected from Colombo city only. We
collect around 14 tons from hospitals alone. This is a crucial matter
which the Central Government should directly get involved in. I assume
if we could have around Rs.700 million, we could reach a sustainable
solution within three years. We could divert the garbage to 'Compost'
production", he said.
Ranawaka pointed out that the 'Elephant-Human' death ratio was around
160 to 60, and this was due to a heavy elephant population and density
among many other factors, in the various regions this tragedy is
experienced in. "We intend to address this matter in the 'Gamma Neguma'
programme in the future," Minister Ranawaka added.