Puttalam landfill ready by 2019 | Daily News

Puttalam landfill ready by 2019

Garbage problem over in two years
Central Waste Management Authority for whole country   

Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champaka Ranawaka said work on the Aruwakkalu Sanitary Land Fill in Puttalam will begin in September and it will be fully operational by early 2019.

“The government will also establish a Central Waste Management Authority, responsible for the waste management of the whole country,” the Minister said. He said the Government is confident of completing a comprehensive programme to solve the solid waste disposal issue within a two year period if there are no more obstructions by elements with vested interests.

“Some politicians try to play the ‘hero’ by using the waste management issue as a means to an end. But,this issue is far too serious to be meddled with,” Minister Ranawaka said.

Minister Ranawaka was briefing the media at Suhurupaya, Battaramulla yesterday regarding the mega plan to develop the worked-out limestone quarries in Aruwakkalu, Puttalam into a Sanitary Landfill for disposal of solid waste.

“The project will be carried out by the Megapolis and Western Development Ministry,” he said.

Minister Ranawaka said Cabinet approval was granted to initiate the project.

“The project’s engineering planning is now in order and we have already submitted the feasibility study for the project. We are now awaiting the results of the Environmental Assessment Report,” he further said.

Minister Ranawaka also said the plan is to transfer waste using rail transport from Colombo to the proposed sanitary landfill.

“We will only have to build 400-500 metres of railway for this proposed transportation method. The rest of the railway lines already exist,” he said.

The World Bank has agreed to fund the Aruwakkalu Sanitary Land Fill, after the Sri Lankan government sought international assistance for the proposed project.

“This is the first time where the World Bank is agreeing to fund a project carried out by Sri Lankan engineers to our own plan. They usually bring a team of their own when they fund our projects,” Minister Ranawaka said.

“The government is to call for tenders by mid July for the project, from both local and foreign investors in the construction industry, Minister Ranawaka also said.

“The Tender procedure will be subjected to the scrutiny of a special team sent by the World Bank,” he added.

“There are three main issues hindering proper waste management in the country, Minister Ranawaka pointed out. The most serious of them all is the legal limitations,” he said.

Minister Ranawaka noted the two other limitations are the high cost to be paid for waste management projects and the lack of proper projects initiated by previous governments.

“No one has come to an agreement as to who can execute the waste management responsibilities to their fullest. The Provincial Councils, Municipal Councils have no agreement regarding this issue. That is why the President and the Prime Minister of this country are forced to physically appear at dumping sites and inspect these matters,” Minister Ranawaka further pointed out.

Minister Ranawaka also recalled that former Chief Justice Sarath N.Silva issued a court order against the limitations imposed by the government on the use of plastics and polythene.

“Sarath N. Silva said the people have a right to use plastics and polythene as they wish. See what it has brought us now. He was the same person who proposed to dump waste in Meetotamulla,” Ranawaka pointed out.

The Minister also said that it is not the responsibility of the Ministry of Megapolis to manage waste in the country, even though many seem to believe so.

“It is saddening to note that not one ton of waste was correctly managed from the year 2007,” Minister Ranawaka added.

Ranawaka said that the funds allocated for a three km highway project will be spent for one waste management project. “Therefore, if we are developing highways, there is no reason why we cannot establish waste management projects, despite how costly they may seem,” he pointed out.

He said each Sri Lankan creates a kilogram of waste per day, and it is but fair that they are expected to pay for the management of the waste they create.

Minister Ranawaka emphasised that this project will hopefully see the dawn of day without falling prey to political opportunism.

“We plead from all parties to support this project without creating more tragedies like Meetotamulla. We can remember how people were misled to say ‘no’ to the Dompe land fill. If someone hinders this project, the Ministry of Megapolis will step down from steering this project.

“The ones who hamper this project will have to take the responsibility for the garbage crisis we are currently in,” Minister Ranawaka pointed out.

He also said Sri Lanka lost a golden opportunity of receiving a World Bank funded waste management project in 1996, which was initiated by the present Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya.

“We cannot afford to lose this opportunity we have got now,” Minister Ranawaka pointed out.

“I heard former President Mahinda Rajapaksa saying that he also initiated a waste management project. His so called waste management project is what ended up as the Meetotamulla dump,” Minister Ranawaka added. 



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