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Waste Management Problem In Sri-Lanka

Solid Waste from Colombo to be dumped in Wilpattu Buffer Zone

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Central Environmental Authority (CEA) is currently accepting public comments regarding the project to transport 1200 Metric Tons of Solid Waste daily from train to Puttalam and dump it in a landfill within the 1 mile buffer zone of Wilpattu National Park. The project costs US$ 107 Million and the capacity of this environmentally destructive landfill is 10 years.

Below are some snippets from the executive summary of the EIA.

"163 faunal species were recorded in the project area representing land snails, butterflies, dragonflies, inland fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. This included 17 endemic to Sri Lanka, 11 nationally threatened, 10 nationally near threatened, and four globally threatened, 05 globally near threatened, 01 exotic fish species and 06 migrant bird species.

It should be noted that the proposed site being within the buffer zone of the WNP and near the rich mangrove forest lining the Lunu Oya estuary, carries many environmental sensitivities. Thus, legal clearance from the Department of Wildlife Conservation is needed prior to the commencement of the project to ensure that the proposed land use is allowable within the buffer zones of wildlife parks. ..... As stated above, the Aruwakkalu sanitary landfill site is an ecologically important area due to its species diversity, habitats uniqueness and location. Clearing of such lands can result in several impacts to the existing environment and which can be irreversible.

Operation of the landfill may attract scavengers like crows, dogs and rats that will compete with other native animal life cycle activities that may directly impact on the survival of native birds‟ eggs and other juveniles. These wastes could also introduce new diseases to the wild species and could impact on their survival. Such impacts may result in increased threats on the population growth and measures such as immediate covering of the unloaded material and pest control shall be carried out.

The area is also frequented by elephants and the establishment of the landfill can attract more elephants to the area, as has been seen in other solid waste dumping sites located close to elephant habitats. As there is a fishing village closer to the project site increased presence of elephants may contribute towards incidences of a human elephant conflict."

Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka submitted alternative and cost effective solutions to the Colombo Solid Waste issue. These letters were submitted to CEA in May 2015. Plasma Gasification technology can be used to convert Waste to Energy at competitive cost or just for Incineration at a fraction of the cost. And the solutions are long-term compared to this short-term (10 year) environmentally destructive project.

Please visit the CEA website below to read the complete EIA and submit your comments to CEA address below before end of this month to protect Wilpattu National Park!

Environmental Impact Assessment Report of the Proposed Metro Colombo Solid Waste Management Project

 

Director General
Central Environmental Authority
“Parisara Piyasa”
No. 104, Denzil Kobbekaduwa Mawatha
Battaramulla

Article submitted by

Sriyantha Perera

Rainforest Protectors of Sri-Lanka

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