CEJ petitions court over solid
waste management policy
The Appeal Court has issued notice on the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) and other connected state agencies in a petition filed by the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) against the CEA over the formulation of a National Policy for Solid Waste Management.
The CEJ said the generation of municipal solid waste from both domestic and commercial sources has grown dramatically in Sri Lanka over the past three decades owing to the population growth, urbanization, technological advancement and changing lifestyles of people.
It is estimated that about 3000 tons of solid waste is collected per day throughout the country.
However, the actual generated quantum may be much higher.
The group said solid waste management practices in the country were deficient and outdated and lacked public participation. “Overall public apathy is observed in the manner of handling and disposal of Municipal Solid Waste.
A system of throwing waste onto the streets by the people and local bodies collecting such waste from the streets and disposing it in the most unhygienic manner is the current practice.
Generally, no storage of waste is being done at the source and instead domestic, commercial and industrial, including bio-medical waste is thrown onto the streets, footpaths, drains and water bodies apparently treating them as receptacles of waste.
Recyclable waste material is not segregated at the origin and is disposed on the streets.
Construction and demolition wastes are also deposited on the roadside or open spaces, obstructing traffic and causing a nuisance,” the petition said.
It said the mismanagement and improper disposal of solid waste raises a number of serious visible, invisible and sometimes irreversible, environmental and other issues. For example soil pollution, water resources pollution, air pollution, visual pollution and health and sanitary problems.
Due to the absence of proper collection, management and disposal practices, municipal solid waste has become a grave problem in Sri Lanka. It is aggravated further by the failure to adopt appropriate reuse and recycling practices.