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Saturday, 9 February 2013

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MARINE POLLUTION

Marine pollution is an environmental hazard. About 70 per cent of the Earth's surface is covered by water and the oceans hold about 96.5 per cent of all Earth's water. The Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Arctic Ocean and the Indian Ocean are the main oceans on earth. World Oceans Day falls on June 8 every year.

Ocean pollution is a serious environmental problem. It directly affects ocean organisms, marine life and indirectly affects human health, resources and the world. Oil spills, toxic waste, deep sea mining and dumping of harmful materials into the ocean are major sources of marine pollution. The Deep water Horizon oil spill (also referred to as the BP oil spill or the Gulf of Mexico oil spill) was destroyed by an explosion on April 20, 2010 and sank into the Gulf of Mexico. It is the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry which caused human health problems as well as extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats in the Gulf of Mexico.

Toxic wastes are poisonous materials that are being dumped into the ocean. They harm many plants and animals in the ocean and have a huge impact on human health. Toxic waste is the most harmful form of pollution to sea life and humans. When toxic waste harms an organism, it can quickly be passed along the food chain and may eventually end up being our seafood. Toxic waste gets into seas and oceans by the leaking of landfills, dumps, mines, and farms. Farm chemicals and heavy metals from factories can have a very harmful effect on marine life and humans.

Marine pollution can be categorized in different ways, such as, land based marine pollution, ship based marine pollution and boating pollution. Boating pollution is the pollution comes from boat engines. Marine transportation, oil leaks of ships also cause marine pollution. Pollution causes a lot of plant and animal deaths in the ocean. Acid rains also pollute oceans. Acid rain is rain consisting of water droplets that are unusually acidic because of atmospheric pollution. When acid rain gets into the ocean, it pollutes the waters and destroys marine life. Marine Pollution Prevention Act No.35 of 2008 of Sri Lanka defines marine environment as the factors of the surroundings of human beings and the biological functions effecting animals and plants of every description including land, oil, water, atmosphere, climate, sound and odours, taste, with in the marine eco -sphere as defined by the act. Act further defines marine pollution as any direct or indirect alternation of the physical, thermal, chemical, biological or radioactive properties of any part of the marine environment by the discharge, emission or the deposit of wastes including introduction by man, directly or indirectly of any substance or energy into marine life so as to effect any beneficial use adversely or to cause a condition which is hazardous to public health, safety or welfare of the animals, birds, wild life, aquatic life or to plants of every description and hindrance to marine activity including fishing and other legitimate uses of the sea and impairment of quality of uses of sea water.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships. IMO Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter was adopted on November 13,1972 and entered into force on 30 August 1975. In 1996, Parties adopted a Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (known as the London Protocol) which entered into force in 2006. International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) - 1973, International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (BUNKER)-2001, International Convention on the control of the Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems On Ships- 2001 are some of the International conventions drafted to prevent marine pollution.

Marine Pollution Prevention Act No.35 of 2008 of Sri Lanka is an act to provide for the prevention, control and reduction of pollution in the terrestrial waters of Sri Lanka or any other Maritime Zones, its fore shore and the coastal Zone of Sri Lanka.

It established The Marine Environment prevention Authority with the sole responsibility to prevent, control and manage the marine environmental pollution in Sri Lanka. This enactment repealed the Marine Pollution Prevention Act No.59 of 1981. Act also impose civil and criminal liability on persons responsible for pollution and deals with preventive measures against pollution. It also stipulates a permit procedure.

Sri Lanka is an island and marine pollution prevention has to be an integral part of our development process.

Wide variety of marine life such as whales, sharks, dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles, coral reefs, sea plants, jelly fish and other forms of organisms live in oceans. Oceans are precious to us. Save the oceans.

Thamarashi Wickramanayake – AAL, Legal Officer, Legal Aid Commission of Sri Lanka


Attorney General and Solicitor General

Question: Will you please explain as to why we should have both an Attorney General and a Solicitor General?

Do we also have a Deputy Attorney General? If so, what is the necessity to have a Solicitor General? What are the different functions assigned to these two posts?

- J Kariyawasam, Wathugedara

Answer:The Attorney General is the chief legal advisor to the government, and is responsible for the representation of the government in court. We don't have a Deputy Attorney General post.

The Solicitor General is the second most senior officer in the Attorney General's Department.


Death certificate

Question: My father's Death Certificate has been misplaced. How can I obtain a copy of the same?

- Maduwinda, sent by email

Consumer problem 

Question: I purchased a laptop (Dell Inspiron 15 R) from a so called reputed establishment seven months ago. Since then it has given trouble four times and sent to Colombo thrice for repairs. For almost three months it was with the establishment whilst under repair. As there was a defect in the laptop I requested for a replacement the 3rd time I sent it for repairs, for which they refused although the warranty says so. Finally with much effort and persuasion they agreed to replace it with a 15 per cent deduction from the original price (73,000). I refused to accept since it was used only for about three months.

They agreed to replace with another laptop (which was 92,000) and I was asked to pay only the balance. After packing the product they again changed their word saying that I have to also pay 15 per cent of the previous laptop which is not mentioned in the warranty.

Please advise me in this regard.

- Sent by email

Answer: You can file a case against the company under the contract law. You have another option to make complain to the Consumer Affairs authority. Complaints should be addressed to Director General of the Authority.

Address: Consumer Affairs Authority, CWE Secretariat Building, 27, Vauxhall Street, Colombo 02

Chairman -Tel: 011-2393496 / 239914
Director General: Tel. 011-2445897 / 2393577 / 2393495
Fax: 011-2399148

Answer: You can obtain a certified copy of the death certificate from the Additional District Registrar at the Divisional Secretariat Office relevant to the place of death occurred.

Fee for obtaining certified copies of death certificates are,

(i) If the registered number and the date of death is known – Rs.100

(ii) If do not know the registered number, but the date of birth is known, for three month search of registry – Rs. 200

If you know only the year of death, for 2 year search of registry - Rs 200


Register marriage in Sri Lanka

Question: I am a Sri Lankan and my husband is a Bangladeshi. We married in Saudi Arabia. How do I register our marriage in Sri Lanka?

Sent by Email

Answer: If your marriage has been registered in the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Saudi Arabia, it is same as your marriage is registered in Sri Lanka.

The Embassy in your country will sends a copy of your marriage certificate to Sri Lanka to be stored in the Central Record Room.

Send an application to the Central Record Room in Colombo to obtain certified copies of your marriage certificate.


Birth certificate

Question: Please let me know the procedure to be followed to alter information in a birth register?

- Chamara, Horana

Answer: In a Birth certificate,

1. Information in cage 01 (Date and place of birth)
2. Information in cage 03 (Sex)

3. Information in cage 05 (Information of mother - if mother's name has been changed after the registration of the birth, it is not possible under this provision)

4. Information in cage 09 (Informant's information) may be altered
5 Produce the declaration to the Additional District Registrar of the Divisional Secretariat of the area where birth occurred.

6 The declaration should be produced by
7. Owner of the birth certificate
8. Father or Mother
9. Legal guardian

10. A person who is dissatisfied with any of the information appearing in the birth register

11 Stamps to be affixed to the declaration is Rs. 50
12 A certified copy of the birth register to be amended should be essentially attached to the declaration.

Following are some written evidences which may be produced to substantiate the request made in the declaration,

Parents’ marriage certificate
List of children/ brothers and sisters
Birth certificate of father/ mother
Birth certificate of a child born after the registration of parents’ marriage

In case there is no child born after the registration of the marriage of parents, birth certificate of a elder or younger child of the subject

Certified copies of records available in hospitals, maternity homes or midwife's records

Student's record sheet, extract of the school admission register

Copy of the electoral register where names of the subject and parents are included

If father is deceased, his death certificate


Changing of name

Question: I want to change my present name. Please let me know the procedure to be adopted.

- L Dharmarathne, Sent by Email

Answer: You can change your present name. First you have to put a paper advertisement saying that you have decided to change your name.

After one year, you have to produce a declaration with sufficient documents to show that you are using the name appeared in the news paper over a year. The documents has to be submitted to the Divisional Secretariat where the Birth has been registered.

Your name can be changed under the Birth and Death Registration Ordinance under Section 27A. Such change of name will be mentioned in cage 13 of the Birth certificate.


Adoption

Question: What are the legal requirements to adopt a child in Sri Lanka?

- Gayantha, Mahara

Answer:

1. Age of the adoptee child should not be more than 14 years.

2. Requirements to be met by the applicant

i. He/she should be more than 25 years of age

ii. The age gap between the applicant and the adoptee child should be at least 21 years

iii. This will not apply if the child concerned is a descendant of the applicant/his brother or sister/any of their married partners

3. Child's consent is required if he/she is over 10 years old

4. Spouses (husband and wife) should produce an application to the District Court.

5. Order of adoption is issued by the District Court

6. This order should be registered at the Registrar General's Department

7. Birth of the adoption child can be re-registered

8. Following documents should be submitted for re-registration of such birth

i. Application for re-registration of birth

ii. Parents’ marriage certificate

iii. Parents’ birth certificates

iv. Adoption certificate

9. The application for re-registration of a birth should be produced to the Zonal Office of the Registrar General's Department to which the area where the child is born belongs to.


SLS permit

Question: How do I obtain the SLS permit in Sri Lanka?

- Ranjana, Chilaw

Answer: The procedure to apply a permit

* A manufacturer desirous of obtaining a permit to use the Certification Mark on a commodity or product must first ascertain whether a Sri Lanka Standard Specification has been approved and published by the Institution for the product/commodity concerned.

* Applications shall be submitted on the prescribed form and separate applications shall be made for each commodity or product covered by a particular standard.

* (Application forms are issued by the Product Certification Division for a nominal fee of LKR 500.00+ 12 percent VAT ).

* If the commodity or product bearing the same brand name is produced at more than one plant of the applicant, separate applications must be submitted simultaneously in respect of each and every plant manufacturing that commodity or product under the same brand name.

* Application Processing fee: LKR 1500.00 + 12 percent VAT

For further details Contact the Product Certification Division (Tel. 2671567-72 Ext. 225, 261, 354, 367 or 584)


Marriage

Question: While I was in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I got married to a Sri Lankan there. My marriage was registered in Saudi Arabia.

I wish to know whether I need to get my marriage re-registered in Sri Lanka or my marriage registration in Saudi Arabia is acceptable here in Sri Lanka.

Kindly advise me in this regard, as to what I should do if my marriage registration out of Sri Lanka (Saudi Arabia) is not accepted.

Izzath.
Via email

Answer: If you want to register your marriage under Sri Lankan law, you have to register your marriage at the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Saudi Arabia which has the same status as a marriage registered in Sri Lanka.


Night work by women

Question: What are the safety measures ensured by law for night work by women?

Sent by Email

Answer: Section 2A of the Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act states that:

* Primarily and most importantly a woman cannot be compelled to work at night against her will.

* The employer must obtain prior approval of the Commissioner of Labour for the employment of women after 10 p.m.

* The law also provides that no woman who has worked a shift of during the hours 6 am to 6 pm can be employed after 10 pm on any day.

* The wages for a woman who does night work must be one and a half times the normal payment received by her.

* Women wardens must be appointed to oversee the welfare of women workers who work at night.

* All night shift women workers must be provided restrooms and refreshments by the employer.

* No more than 10 night work shifts that can be allocated to a woman worker during a period of one month.

* The provisions mentioned above do not apply to women holding managerial or technical positions, women employed in health and welfare services (which are not manual in nature) and women of the same family engaged a family business.

According to the Section 67 Factories Ordinance

* The number of hours worked not including the intervals for meals and rest and the period of employment cannot exceed nine hours in any day or forty eight hours in a week.

While all of the Occupational Health and Safety provisions contained in the Factories Ordinance apply for both men and women, Section 25 specifically states that:

* A woman or young person shall not clean any part of a prime mover or of any transmission machinery while the prime mover or transmission machinery is in motion.

* They also should not clean any part of any machine if it exposes them to risk of injury from any moving part either of that machine or of any adjacent machinery.

Under Section 86 of the Factories Ordinance provides

* Protection for women and young persons employed in certain processes connected with lead manufacture and in processes involving the use of lead compounds.

* The provisions include notifying the Chief Factory Inspecting Engineer of cases of lead poisoning as a result of manufacturing processes.

The Shop and Office Employees Act, (Section 10) states that

* Person below the age of 14 years cannot be employed in any shop or office, and any person between the ages of 14 and 18 years cannot be employed in any shop or office before 6 am or after 6 pm.

* However, any woman above 18 years may be employed in a hotel or restaurant between the hours of 6 pm and 10 pm.

* Any woman over 18 years of age may be employed in a residential hotel before 6 am. or after 6 pm. on any day.

* Any woman over 18 years of age may be employed in a shop or office for the period or any part of the period between 6 pm and 8 pm.

* This rule is relaxed for a male who is above 16 years of age, enabling him to be employed in the business of a hotel, restaurant or place of entertainment for the period or any part of the period between 6 pm. and 10 pm.

Section16 of the Act provides for

* The provision of seats in shops in every room behind the counters, where women are serving customers the proportion of the number of seats available must be not less than one seat for every three women working in the room.

* Any employer in either public or private industrial undertakings which employ women workers and young persons is required by law to maintain a register of their names, dates of birth as well as their hours of work and must make it available for inspection at any time.

The employer is also required under the Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act to display the legal provisions in Sinhala, Tamil and English, pertaining to the protection of the rights of women and young persons, in the public spaces on the premises.

Under the Mines and Minerals Law and Mines (Prohibition of Females on Underground Work in Mines expressly prohibits:

*The employment of women, irrespective of age, being employed in underground mines at any time.

*The exception lies with the employment of women in managerial and supervisory positions.

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