22 November, 2019

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Puttalam Garbage Project: 15.03.19 – Countdown Starts!

By Mohamed SR. Nisthar

Mohamed SR. Nisthar

Why is Puttalam treated differently? This is the fairly reasonable question every inhabitant of the Puttalam constituency, one of the six in the North-Western Electoral district, has on their mind. Answers to this simple question, however, that are coming from the President, the Prime minister, the Minister for Western Development and Mega Polis and the leaders of the so-called Muslim (Halal) parties (SLMC and ACMC) despite their apparent Haraam activities, appalling.

Puttalam area has been engulfed by man made ecologically dangerous, environmentally disasters, ethically wrong and legally challengeable projects, a cement factory in the south of the extended town, a coal power plant in the west, which was once considered as the fertile – cash crop area of the region. In the north there is the intended garbage dump or the sugar coated expression of sanitary solid waste management project. The chosen site, is very close to residential areas, lagoon fishing, fresh water prawn rearing, saltern, coconut estates and wildlife sanctuary, leaving only the West side for any more nasty projects, in the future which would be agitated  by any prudent citizen of the country.

There is no point in revisiting the false promises given to the people of the area for their concerns, when the cement factory was  built at pallavi in the midst of cocoanut plantation and the coal power plant was built at, Nurochchoolai, which was a promising cash crop belt, however, however, the Garbage dumping project of Arruwakkadu/Serakkuli attracts severe criticism as several EIA ( Environmental Impact Assessment ) reports confirm that the chosen site is not suitable at all.

This project was initiated by the Rajapaksa government and it was then given up at the request of former deputy minister of livestock and incumbent  Chairman of Puttalam UC, Mr. Baiz. So what? The project is being resumed and it will start its activity on 15th March 2019, the Mega Polis Minister Cambika Ranawaka has confirmed. The same Minister was  behind the scene   in building the notorious coal power plant at Nurochcholai, exposing the population, namely, young children and pregnant women to multiple medical conditions and mysterious  symptoms of yet to be pathologically confirmed new diseases. Still, it seems that the Minister is not satisfied. For him it is about winning next parliamentary seat or about his fantasy for contesting in the next Presidential Election for which he wants a carbonless, e-waste free and odourless  clean Colombo. At the expense  of our very right to simply have a clean Puttalam.

The garbage issue was brought to the attention of the President in recent days and he had the following to say: “We cannot dump our garbage at sea, enabling the international community to make a big hoo-hah out of it”. Granted, but the Garbage I create at home cannot not be thrown at my neighbour’s house. And  it seems that the environmentally friendly President does not care the local communities, who elected him as president, and their hoo-hah against this unwise and unwelcome project.

Minister Ranawaka quoted “people who oppose the Puttalam garbage project are selfish and disrespect the lives lost at the collapse of the  “Meetotamulla garbage” mountain in the capital. You are totally wrong Minister. We are not bemused by the disaster caused by mismanagement by the municipality and or Ministry of Mega Polis nor any management at all, but we try our best to stop  you from  causing 240, 000 slow deaths and more in perpetuity and turning the already dry zone into a death zone. Are you not remorseful in anticipation for the lives yet to be lost, before it is too late for you to share grief with us  as you expect from us towards the victims of the “Meetottamulla”

The Minister further said “it is the local politicians and clergies (Buddhists, Muslims, Saivas and Christians), who try to stop this national project.” The local politicians, who like you to serve your constituency, are mandated by the local people to seek right solutions for their grievances and the clergies are the ones, who live with these issues and thoroughly understand the peoples’ concerns. Don’t you  like them carrying out  their duty, which is expected by  their people?

There are laws in place to deal with these things. A piece of legislation, our Municipal Council and Urban Council Ordinance stop you passing the bug to another local government jurisdiction. But you do regardless, this is an outright  violation of law. Also the very constitution, that you fought for and were prepared to die for, including  any blatant breaches by the former President and his acolytes during the 52 days political  drama in 2018, which  made entire world laugh at us. And you were steadfast for upholding an unequivocally enshrined constitutional arrangement. As such it is our constitutionally confirmed   fundamental right to have an unpolluted  environment for the current and future generations,  pure water, clean air and most importantly the inalienable right not to be treated differently or less favourably than others. Now tell us Minister why the people of Puttalam should be treated less favourably than any other part of the country.

The Earth Summit in 2000 in Rio passed a resolution adopting the “Polluter Pays” Principle of which Sri Lanka is one of the signatories. It is not the people of Puttalam area, but people of the capital, its business entities, hospitals, government  departments that should bear the unpleasant consequence of their behaviours  in creating  uncontrollable  garbage in Colombo under  polluter pays principle.

I expected the Minister to come up with plausible arguments for his resolved position of sending garbage created in Colombo to other places. Unfortunately his reasons for that were that: there are no   suitable places in Colombo or around the capital. Even it were accepted for the sake an argument, then why Puttalam, why not Pollanaruwa, Hambanthotta or Kilinochchi or even Nuwarallia? The Minister’s answer in  replication was that there are utilised and then abandoned limestone quarries only in Puttalam. Is it? We can take the Minister on a tour up and down the country to other quarries for him to make a proper choice.

It is a mystery that the Minister is not aware of the deforested limestone quarries are to be filled back (certainly not with garbage) and reforested according to the agreement signed between other government authorities and the cement corporation, a government entity at the beginning, which  then became a private one known as Holcim , and now operating  as Insee.

The President, the Prime minister, Minister  Cambika Ranawaka, leaders of minority parties, local NGOs, who were busy making  big headlines and hot topics for their concerns for the wildlife sanctuary at “Willpattu”, but have no iota of empathy and sympathy to the same Willpattu wildlife, inhabitants of the area, flora and fauna of the region.

The Government, its Ministers do not mind the  factual importance of the issue, breaking the law of the country, existing agreements, not adhering the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the people, and international convention etc.

The people of Puttalam  may be naïve, but not “Buruwas”(donkeys ). They are not  rebellious, but are completely innocent lot, believing that there will be the 11th hour God’s intervention to stop this disgusting garbage project. But it cannot be a good reasons for the Minister to suppress our fundamental right. So the big question now is will it be  the countdown for the Minister to go against the will of our people on 15th March 2019 or is it the God’s intervention making us to initiate court proceedings to establish the people’s right?

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Latest comments

  • 2
    2

    This shows Sri Lanka does not have any plan to disperse it rubbish collection. Why people of Puttalam should take Colombo city rubbish? why not they recycle in different parts in suburbs of Colombo..

  • 4
    0

    If you can dispose of the garbage in our parliament 50% of the rubbish will be reduced. But where are we going to dispose them. You can’t recycle, as it will become a recurring problem.

  • 2
    0

    As far as I know, Puttalama is full of Sands and is good only for Potato or root crops. there is lot of HIRIGAL suitable for Cement manufacturing and there is no need of a very ,long train of Hirigal or Calcium carbonate moving from Galla to Kankasanthure.

  • 3
    0

    What are real issues in this landfills
    – The proposed site is situated just 300m away from Puttalam Lagoon and the site is on the Banks of the Kala Oya and bordering buffer zone of the Wilpattu National Park. Fishing villages also attached to the proposed site which is not even 600m from the site. The belt of one of the largest aquifer fresh groundwater resources found in this area from Puttalam to Jaffna.
    – Leachate Treatment Plant has capacity of 600,000 litres/day. This is almost the full leachate capacity of the landfill which generates 587,000 litre/day. Every drop of rain in this area will be mixed with hazardous leachate and be released to the lagoon “Built up of toxic material in the fill and over loading if stormwater management and rainwater cut off arrangements fail to Cause lagoon pollution and treat of associated environmental impact.” The project area receives 250mm – 350mm rainfalls in April-June and rains in Sep-November seasons. The 1st phase of the landfill area is 25 hectares. This is equal to 250,000 square metre of land area. With a rainfall of 1 mm, every square metre receives 1 litre of rain water. 10 mm of rainfall in this area will receive 2,500,000 litre of rain water which is 4 times extra of the leachate plant capacity.
    – The lagoon is life for around 5,000 fishing families where they fish about 14,000 tons/year. Further Lagoon consists a significant ecosystem of the country, where the lagoon is very rich in natural resources such as fish, shellfish, coral reefs, sand dunes, mangroves, sea grass beds, salt marshes and beaches. This beautiful pristine area is likely to end up being like the Bellandur Lake in Bangalore and Toms River, New Jersey. In Bangalore, toxic foam from Bellandur Lake covers the city. In Toms River, New Jersey, local residents are affected with higher rates of cancer and children with acute lymphocytic leukemia.

  • 0
    0

    Garbage disposal is not a problem if the recycling is working. Sri lanka had Recycling of newspapers, cardboard, Glass. Only extra thing is Plastic recycling. In the west that plastic is used to recycle and manufacturing things such as Toys. Even house hold items can be manufactured. Sri lanka is a dumb country. Politicians want to be experts and there are no long term national plans. I heard one ministry had six ministers during the four year term. Then officials under them also may be just for the salary.

    • 0
      0

      JD!
      Politicians don’t know the meaning of ‘recycling’. They think that is repeated Cycling on their push-bicycles to reduce their over weight.

    • 0
      0

      Dear Nizar and JD and the Author of the article raised the most important question all our resources should have been directed at a long time ago. we are doing the catching up here and not sure if we will ever make it………….likely we will choke and die in our own vomit.

      Hon President is right to say we got to put the rubbish somewhere then one has to ask if we did do a comprehensive solid waste management study for the entire Island and come up with a holistic solution taking into account of the best of technologies in recycling/organic waste management/toxic waste management/sewage management/water management/energy generation from the waste……..a full life cycle of all the packaging/what is allowed into the country/laboratories to analyses air/water/soil/food capabilities/laws, codes and standards governing all this have to be put in place/university to prepare graduates to become bio/chemical analysts/experts……………..the Sri Lankan Diaspora can help get these studies done in their respective countries working with our ministries??? then they can also help the expertise/due diligence/project management/design activities/construction and commissioning activities to complete the projects……instead we discuss National Question until we are deep in the s***. Sorry to say President can not fix this but ‘we’ need to form a group and come up with proposals.

  • 2
    0

    Oh man! All of them, the Sri Lankans are real donkeys, and frogs in the well. Wouldn’t see anything beyond their noses, and only look at short term solutions for the issues facing them. Man, Garbage is gold, and very valuable, if handled properly. Countries like Sweden, UK, China etc are importing garbage. First they separate the valuables, and the rest they incinerate in the incinerators for power production. The left over ash is used for road building. We could do the same. If the local authorities and the government educate the people to separate it at the sources, the biodegradable would be used for composite, and the rest could be put to better use, instead of playing food ball with the garbage issue. It is the responsibility of the whole country and it’s entire population to take it to their hearts and minds to solve this common issue affecting all and everyone in the country.

  • 0
    1

    Its a high time to re think this project, Dumping at PUTTALAM in response of Meetotamulla incident, later for sure , the future government to look for another place in response to the calamity that would be aniticipated in PUTTALAM, due to dumping.

    • 0
      0

      Why not the the parliament surrounded by Diyawanna, the best place to have a garbage recycle plant as those people who reside in there have signed agreements to bring garbage from foreign countries too, they are the people who are going to earn the profits, so that’s the best place, NO other place Sri Lanka suitable for garbage. All of those people should be covered in garbage until mighty GOD send them to HELL foe ruining innocent peoples’ lives.

  • 0
    2

    I have warned about Champika Ranawaka before – to confirm, this is a man who enjoys shitting in other people’s back yards. He will not hesitate to resort to impunity in order to advance his political agenda. There are other options, but the city fathers of Puttalam will have a tough fight on their hands. Good luck.

  • 1
    0

    Garbage Crusher Machine Diagram. Crushing Heat treatment to form garbage power to be used for fertile agriculture, A closed tea factory can be used that has all the facilities turn the garage to income generating project. When income is generated everyone accepts. The factories had the transport system the same management can be borrowed for collection. Eg: A man’s trash a another man treasure, There Human waste disposal companies like wise in some countries Human waste is turned to watering gardens as done in middle east.

  • 1
    0

    #GarbageGOLD…! Garbage is Valuable Asset…!
    How to Manage Garbage…???

    Garbage is divided into two major groups that are Organic and Inorganic garbage including Glass, Metal and others such as waste oil and hazardous wastes. The best things that a household could to is #Reduce and #Reuse.

    – Organic garbage: husks, leftover food, wood, paper, cardboard and crop residues such as bagasse, coffee pulp, bean pods, etc.
    #Food related waste is great sources for compost and most of this type of waste could be directly compost. Rest of the food/organic item could be cut in to pieces and then compost. This compost could be issued free of charge for agriculture such as instead of fertilizer subsidy specially for paddy.
    #Paper, cardboard and wood which is also directly used to recycle for paper products and for construction materials.

    – Inorganic garbage: glasses, plastics, metal and residues of paints, solvents and insecticides.
    #Plastics – This is fully recyclable. There are SME industries continue this recycling of plastics, bottles etc.
    #Glass – also recyclable. The glass is crushed and melted, then moulded into new products such as bottles and jars.
    #Metal – Scrap metal is one of the most valuable products for recycle. Recycling metal is important to not only keep this limited supply material out of landfills

    – Rest to incinerate (burn) in the incinerators for power production. The left-over ash is used for road building.

    – #Landfill: There is very limited stuff will end up in landfills. This also may be recycled with future technology available

    #Everything can be used for something else, where the role of a government is vital important. The government should promote these recycling SME industries and should bring appropriate regulations on manufacturing, productions and packing. Corporate should not think that we produced and sold, and rest is the duty of the government! Corporate should re-visit its process to minimize such waste at users’ hand.

    • 0
      0

      Thank you Mr Nizar for sharing the breakdown of all what we consume and through-away/ comprehensive waste management methodologies already adopted that we can Taylor make it and take it further. Cool

      I feel sad for our Nation as she did not go through normal development process in the past 40 years and once the war stopped we were dumped with developed country life style products for consume…..the result is Chios. She need a lot of help.

      I know personally lot of people try to invest in these modern technologies and proposed a holistic way to recycle new waste and work on the existing disposal sites to make them safe by using the material for energy production the usual culprits resisted the changes……the Mafias control a lot of these scenes then..may be now is different.??………even the Ministers were scared to touch the subject…….then for the investors were asked to folk out a lot of money on the side upfront without even any installments basis to see the project through to the end?? all the investors withdrew thereafter.

  • 1
    0

    They could use this garbage, along with coal, to produce electricity in the Norachcholai power plant. That could save lot of foreign exchange for the country. But the only thing the politicians and officials wouldn’t like for it would put a stop to their filthy commissions from the coal purchasing.

  • 1
    0

    The dump site is at least 40 km from Puttalam and it is only politically motivated people who cry against this project. Most people who howl do not know how a sanitary land fill works. It will be located at an abandoned limestone quarry and few people, mostly illegal encroachers inhabit this area.. In a sanitary landfill garbage dumped will be covered with a thin layer of soil and compacted so that there is no smell. Even the effluent is treated in a treatment plant and rendered harmless. A similar project initiated by Mr. Karu Jayasuriya when he was the mayor of Colombo to dump all of Colombo garbage at a sanitary landfill at Meepe was killed by the likes of Dinesh Gunawardane who sought only political mileage when the World Bank was willing to fund the project . Had this project was successful it would have the capacity to dump all garbage in the western province.
    At least now people in Puttalam should realise that this is not going to harm their environment and not oppose this project in national interest.

  • 0
    1

    Cunning Mohomad,
    So you have thrown in typical “Muslim logic”.
    The COASTLINE distric Puttalama in the DRY ZONE is treated differently because it is a different place altogether and environmental damage is MINIMAL of disposing gabage.
    /
    But the biggest problem in Puttalama is ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT MUSLIMS from Maldives, fishing villages of South India, and Rohingyas who have been given fraudulent Sri Lankan birth certificates, national IDs, fraudulent land deeds, etc. Muslim big shots are using Wilpattuwa for drug smuggling, human (Muslims) smuggling and all kind of illegal activities. Pigroff Assrof proposed Muslim nation’s location is Puttalama and Mannarama districts.
    /
    The piglets who are responsible for Wilpattuwa jungle carnage have cut down very valuable trees that were 400 years old and made billions of Ruppees. So if you come across pigdeen-badudeen in usual plotting sessions ( praying) tell him soon he is going to jail.

  • 0
    0

    Dear John,

    All your accusations can be either proved or disproved by legal means. isn’t it. But you haven’t answered the writer’s simple question. Why is it Puttalam (Aruwakkadu/Serakkuli) and not the place where the garbage is being created?

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