18 May, 2022

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Science, Politics & Manipulations Of Water Pollution In Jaffna

By Murali Vallipuranathan

Dr. Murali Vallipuranathan

Dr. Murali Vallipuranathan

“The wars of the next century will be fought over water” – Ismail Serageldin, World Bank Vice President in 1995(1)

Water shortage has become an escalating problem globally because of the increasing demands from agriculture, expanding population, energy production and climate change (2). It was estimated that in 2007 around 1.2 billion people, or almost one in five people on the planet lived in areas of water scarcity (3). It is further predicted that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world population would live under water stress conditions (4). This year United Nations declared the theme of “Water and Sustainable Development” for the World Water Day held on 22nd March 2015 (5). Sustainable development is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (6) and the selected theme of the UN emphasize creating awareness on water conservation and minimizing water pollution to ensure habitable planet for the future generations.

In developing countries, 70 percent of the industrial wastes are dumped untreated into waters, polluting the usable water supply (7). Joint ventures by global corporations such as Panasonic, Pepsi and Nestle were among 33 multinational companies that the Chinese government has blacklisted for causing water pollution (8). It is no secret that the multinational companies prefer to expand their ventures in developing countries because unlike developed world developing countries do not have strict regulations restricting industry and agricultural operations from pouring pollutants into lakes, streams, rivers and other water resources (7). It was reported that some multinational companies have paid bribes to government officials in order to get around obstacles erected against profitable operations of their enterprises (9). It is in this backdrop we have to view the water pollution issues in SrI Lanka.

Chunnakam waterTwo major water pollution incidents caused by industry led to civil unrest and mass protests in Sri Lanka (10). First major protest was reported at Gampaha District in 2013 against the rubber glove factory of Dipped Products PLC belongs to the Heyleys Group located at Rathupaswala ended up in three people sacrificing their lives (11) (12). No State testing institution expressly held the private company responsible for Rathupaswala’s low water quality and state institutions may have been prevented by political influence from holding the company responsible (13). Though government agreed to pay compensation (14) opposition moved a motion in the parliament alleging that there was no freedom for the government agencies responsible for the protection of environment to perform their duties (15). Finally the company involved got off scot free without paying any penalty or compensation to the affected people.

Almost similar manipulations are now taking place in the Chunnakam water pollution issue at Jaffna District though compared to Rathupaswela it affects a much larger population estimated to be around a quarter million (16). The political influence was strong enough for a warning in 2012 by the head of the National Water Board on the dire ecological consequences of the spreading oil pollution was ignored and he was removed from office instead (16). Understandably the public protests in Jaffna came to surface vigorously after the end of white van era of the previous regime on 8th January 2015. Northern Power Company which owns the private power plant and operates as a subsidiary of MTD Walker PLC (17) has a European Union Parliamentarian among the Board of Directors who has been maintaining close ties with the ruling regimes of Sri Lanka of the present and past (18), (19). Therefore inaction by the politicians belongs to the Centre on this matter from the time the first complaint was made in 2008 is understandable though it was recently raised in the parliament anticipating the parliamentary elections (20).

The position of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) elected by the majority of Tamils which successfully passed the genocide resolution of Tamils (21) has become controversial among Tamils in this issue. Initially on 4th December 2014, Agriculture Minister of the NPC Mr. P.Aynkaranesan passed a resolution at NPC alleging that the Northern Power Company had violated the environmental regulations and was responsible for the waste oil pollution spreading from the premises of Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) at Chunnakam (22). He further demanded that the Northern Power Company should have had the corporate social responsibility and had to pay for the water supply to the affected people in the region, experiments on the underground water and for suitable remedial measures. He also objected for the renewal of the contract between CEB and Northern Power which expires at the end of 10 years of operation in 2017. However, after 2 months position of the Minister shifted drastically and he started alleging aerial bombing during the war as the main cause of water pollution and in addition levelled allegations against Agrico Company another power plant operated before the commencement of operations by Northern Power (23). On 12th February 2015 Northern Power Company lauded Mr. Ayngaranesan for condemning the misinformation campaign against them and claiming the protests against water pollution were politically motivated (24).   On 7th April 2015 he together with the Health Minister of the Province submitted a report to the NPC stating that toxic substances were not found in the underground water at Chunnakam and alleged that some persons under the name of awareness campaign preventing people from using the well water misinterpreting the calcium deposits and dust layer as polluted oil (25). Notably at this point the allegations against the Northern Power Company were completely dropped by Mr.Aynkaranesan.

Hence it become important in the interest of the people and future generations to reveal the truth and scientific facts behind this issue without any conflict of interest. Though I am not in the habit of responding to backboneless anonymous writers and commentators, in order to ensure validity of this article I would like to respond to a mudslinging article published under the pseudo name of Eelam County Citizen by a crony of one of the ministers levelling several false allegations against me and Jaffna Medical Association (26) (27). First allegation stated that the Jaffna Medical Association remained silent on public issues during the last 3 decades even when the Tamil people were dying at Vanni and the doctors justified their stance stating it would risk their jobs. It claimed that now the doctors are involving in this issue because of their political agenda. My answer to this allegation is that I never remained silent on issues affecting public. In fact during 2009-2010 I was kept interdicted for 13 months without salary for sending an email supporting the plight of the Tamils kept in Forced Detention Camps (28). I was reinstated only after I filed a Fundamental Rights petition at Supreme Court and exonerated by the Court. In addition I have given evidence to the Lesson Learnt and Reconciliation Commission on the plight of Tamils in 2011 (29). The Jaffna Medical Association has been conducting health camps on monthly basis targeting the most vulnerable communities recovering from the war especially at Vanni region since 2013. Second allegation was directed at me personally stating that I was seeking the post of Secretary of Health of the Northern Province and because I was rejected on the grounds that I was not SLAS qualified I am now taking revenge against the Provincial Minister of Health using this water pollution issue. The true facts are as follows. When the NPC was established in 2013 two constituent party leaders (Members of Parliament) of TNA and a Member of the NPC contacted me and requested my service as Secretary of Health to the NPC. I agreed to their request and sent my Curriculum Vitae by email to the Hon. Chief Minister of the NP. Subsequently I learnt that the previous Governor was not allowing any appointments by the NPC officials. Very recently I was again informed that the Chief Minister is looking for an eligible person to fill the post of Health Secretary and again I sent an email with my CV with a copy to the Provincial Minister of Health. Other than that I have not gone behind any politicians to get me appointed to this post. I am fully qualified with postgraduate qualifications to hold this post and do not require SLAS. In fact the first health secretary of the North East Province was Dr.C.S.Nachinarkiniyan who was medically qualified without SLAS. Health Secretary post of the Centre was held most of the time by medically qualified persons without SLAS. I am already in Medical Specialist Grade and appointment to the Secretary post does not increase my remuneration. Though I am comfortable in Colombo with my interests in postgraduate teaching and research I applied for the Secretary post for two reasons. Firstly no specialist in my field work in the Northern Province and secondly my long experience in health planning would be an asset for a Province recovering from the effects of war.

Having clarified that I do not have any conflict of interest in this issue I cannot agree with the composition and reports of the so called “Expert Committee” appointed by Mr.Aynkaranesan for the following reasons. First of all, none of the appointed “experts” have previous experience in handling water pollution with petroleum waste and they were handpicked by Mr.Aynkaranesan without any criteria. Though the members of expert committee are experts in their fields most of them do not have expertise in the relevant area. For example in the medical field an expert in medical administration was appointed. But oil pollution in drinking water more appropriately should have been investigated by a doctor specialized in environmental medicine or toxicology or epidemiology. Secondly members in the committee are having conflicts of interest. One member is having close ties with the CEB in an issue where the CEB is the main suspect. Even if the private power company has violated the environmental regulations CEB is in fault for hiring them and not supervising them. Thirdly there was no terms of reference to the expert committee and the experimental protocol was not decided in advance. Fourthly the sampling method was wrong and sample size was inadequate. The study for petroleum waste by the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) was done in 150 wells and 109 wells were found to be positive. Further the study for lead was done in 50 wells and 4 wells were found to have high level of lead. If Mr.Aynkaranesan’s committee want to challenge these results they should have taken effort to test the same wells tested by the NWSDB. Also anybody with basic knowledge in research statistics and probability would agree that a much larger sample of wells is required to disprove the previous study findings. In addition we have the report from Government Analyst Department confirming all the samples obtained from 30 wells over a wide geographical region in 4 MOH areas containing high levels of oil and grease in which I had personally witnessed the sample collection and seen the visibly polluted wells with the oil smell in the region. The above mentioned circumstances have led me to have no option other than totally dismissing the reports by Aynkaranesan’s committee. The most prudent step at this stage after all these conflicting reports would be to request the assistance from an international organization which cannot be easily manipulated by the multinational companies and has the ability to get down international experts from other countries which have encountered similar pollutions by petroleum waste of underground water. As responsible President of the Jaffna Medical Association I have already initiated this step by requesting the WHO to conduct a systematic study. However, for the WHO to get involved in this issue a request from the Central or Provincial Government is required and I hope the provincial and central officials who have received copies of my letter would support my request.

On the other hand the remedial measures to the people in the affected region should not get delayed until these issues are sorted out. I have already outlined 6 remedial measures that need to be taken without delay in my letter to the Chief Minister of the NP on 20th February 2015 (30). The most worrying aspect is that despite our repeated requests to date the NWSDB officials have not revealed the 4 wells found to have high level of lead. The residents around these wells would have been drinking this contaminated water for last 5 years and it can be simply proved by testing the blood levels even before the clinical signs and symptoms of lead poisoning appears. I believe these wells are being hidden by manipulations because any case proved to have lead poisoning will lead the multinational company to pay a large amount of compensation.

Few days back I was listening to an interview given by the Provincial Health Minister to CMR Canadian Radio in this issue (31). Disappointingly there were several distorted facts in this interview. Firstly he stated the problem started in fifties. I checked with retired officials from CEB and confirmed that time the waste products from CEB were transported via train and recycled at the glass factory. Secondly he stated a study was conducted in eighties at Jaffna University on water pollution by oil waste. I have checked independently and found the first complaint on the water pollution was made only in 2008 and twisting the timeline only helps the private company which began its operations in 2007. Further he stated that persons were spreading rumors that the oil waste had reached Kopay and Tellipalai. I categorically state that spread of petroleum waste to Kopay and Tellipalai were not rumors but confirmed by the samples obtained by the Central Health Ministry Officials and tested with Government Analyst Department in February 2015. He also stated that persons have exaggerated and said that water pollution could lead to subfertility and affect fetus in utero. I confirm that lead poisoning can lead to subfertility and affect fetus in utero and this fact can be confirmed in any standard toxicology book. His relative posting comments under the name of Puvi at Colombo Telegraph was sending email stating that people might pour oil into their own wells and thereby making us to believe that the people around Chunnakam having serious mental problems. I hope all these manipulations to defend the multinational company will be stopped in the interest of the poor people affected by this pollution.

I got an opportunity to meet the Chief Minister of the Northern Province on 25th April 2015 and discuss this issue. He was awarded the title of Perunthalaivar (great leader) by the Kamban Kalagam (31) and since he became the sworn Chief Minister we have been expecting a “Rama Rajiyam” where the ruler listen to the people at the grassroots level and rule in a noble manner. It was stated in the great epic Ramayana that every evening King Rama dressed up like an ordinary citizen and went around the kingdom to feel the pulse of the people to ensure that he rules justly despite the advices he received from his wise ministers (32). I wish our Chief Minister would also go around and inspect the affected wells at Chunnakam and listen directly to the grievances of the affected people and stop comparing the reaction of the affected people deprived of the basic need of drinking water to the reaction of a lady to cockroach in a restaurant (33).

Finally it appears that whoever is in power either in center or province, exploitation of the environment and poor masses by the corporate world of the multinational companies would continue irrespective of whether it happens in North or South of Sri Lanka. I therefore call upon all the righteous people to join hands with me to stand against this exploitation and injustice.

The world is a dangerous place. Not because of the people who are evil; but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”- Albert Einstein

*Dr.Murali Vallipuranathan – MBBS, PGD (Population Studies), MSc, MD (Community Medicine), FCCP – Board Certified Specialist Community Physician – President, Jaffna Medical Association


 

References:

  1. http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/clark-judge/2013/02/19/the-next-big-wars-will-be-fought-over-water
  2. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/09/global-water-shortages-threat-terror-war
  3. http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/scarcity.shtml
  4. http://www.unwater.org/publications/publications-detail/en/c/204294
  5. http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/about/en/
  6. http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/water_and_sustainable_development.shtml
  7. http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/pollution/
  8. http://www.china.org.cn/english/news/186247.htm
  9. http://www.acton.org/pub/religion-liberty/volume-2-number-5/multinational-corporations-third-world-predators-o
  10. http://oneislandtwonationsblogspotcom.typepad.com/blog/2015/03/ecological-disaster-in-vallikamam-north-sri-lanka.html
  11. http://www.lankatruth.com/home/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6454:rathupaswala-factory-shifted-&catid=42:smartphones&Itemid=74
  12. http://www.ceylontoday.lk/59-39888-news-detail-the-story-of-the-rathupaswala-incident.html
  13. http://www.lawandsocietytrust.org/PDF/resource/Winning%20Submission%20Call%20for%20Papers%20-%20Ratupaswala.pdf
  14. http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=local/president-orders-compensation-weliveriya-victims
  15. http://dailynews.lk/?q=political/parliament-6
  16. https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/ecological-disaster-in-vallikamam-north-sri-lanka/
  17. http://www.mtdwalkers.com/walker-sons-co-ltd
  18. http://democracyandclasstruggle.blogspot.com/2014/12/sri-lank-nirj-deva-mep-and-crimes.html
  19. http://www.sundaytimes.lk/150301/columns/former-vip-mp-opens-tax-files-now-138189.html
  20. http://www.ceylontoday.lk/51-89810-news-detail-chunnakam-ground-water-contaminated.html
  21. https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/full-text-npcs-resolution-on-genocide-of-sri-lankan-tamil/
  22. http://www.pathivu.com/news/35836/57/d,article_full.aspx
  23. http://www.acmc.lk/%E0%AE%8A%E0%AE%9F%E0%AE%95%E0%AE%99%E0%AF%8D%E0%AE%95%E0%AE%B3%E0%AE%BF%E0%AE%B2%E0%AF%8D-%E0%AE%AA%E0%AF%87%E0%AE%9A%E0%AF%81%E0%AE%AA%E0%AF%8A%E0%AE%B0%E0%AF%81%E0%AE%B3%E0%AE%BE%E0%AE%95-%E0%AE%AE/
  24. http://www.news.lk/news/business/item/6149-wrong-steps-could-aggravate-jaffna-water-contamination-issue-northern-power
  25. http://www.pathivu.com/news/39047/57/d,article_full.aspx
  26. http://www.battinaadham.com/2015/04/blog-post_758.html#
  27. http://kathiravan.com/%E0%AE%9A%E0%AF%81%E0%AE%A9%E0%AF%8D%E0%AE%A9%E0%AE%BE%E0%AE%95-%E0%AE%95%E0%AE%B4%E0%AE%BF%E0%AE%B5%E0%AF%81-%E0%AE%93%E0%AE%AF%E0%AE%BF%E0%AE%B2%E0%AF%8D-%E0%AE%AA%E0%AE%BF%E0%AE%B0%E0%AE%9A123/
  28. https://sunandadeshapriya.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/tamil-doctor-on-the-mat-for-expressing-private-opinion/
  29. https://llrclk.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/submission-murali-vallipuranathan.pdf
  30. https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/on-water-pollution-issue-in-chunnakam/
  31. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XhluWsel4I&feature=youtu.be
  32. http://www.omlanka.com/kamban-festival.html
  33. http://ramalila.blogspot.com/2007/03/chapter-15-return-to-ayodhya.html
  34. https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/drinking-water-contamination-issue-in-jaffna-reactions-and-responses/

 

 

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Latest comments

  • 3
    1

    After saying you got a chance to meet the CM, you talk about Ramayana. Why not share with us what the Chief Minister had to say in response to your claims?

  • 1
    5

    It has discussed every thing except the major issue.

    Anyhow, it says as all other Tamils did, present Tamil politicians are also using Tamils to raise they them selves to a higher level over the voters.

    So, the problem must be Sinhala politicians are eating the pie alone without sharing it with Tamil politicians.

    As the north is very close to the ocean, there should be contamination from ocean waters. Then the Agriculture is a major employment in there (that is why long long ago during the ANCIENT TIMES, Sihala farmers had abandoned the north). So, the water pollution because of fertilizer and pesticides should be common. How about the abundance of rotten – Kidney disease. I think, it is premature for that. After some time, it will be there.

    • 0
      0

      “Anyhow, it says as all other Tamils did, present Tamil politicians are also using Tamils to raise they them selves to a higher level over the voters.”

      Leave us in peace and we will destroy ourselves without any help.

      “As the north is very close to the ocean, there should be contamination from ocean waters.”

      Don’t know about other areas but in the Jaffna peninsula almost all the ground water is too salty. It would not be considered acceptable in other countries.

  • 2
    2

    Richard Arudpragasam commented on Facebook.

    Drinking water problem in Jaffna.

    I seriously doubt the oil is coming from Chunnagam Power station. The source should be traced first with an open mind.

    Other possible sources of oil:

    1. One possible oil source is someone has drilled for oil inside the security zone. After hitting oil they may have closed it using shallow plug of concrete. Then this leak is possible. To find out the truth check all the wells next to the fence. And if the leak is coming from inside the security zone go inside and check the wells and trace the oil source.

    Indians are aware that there is oil under the Jaffna peninsula, hence their tacit support to the security zone.

    The influence and control the Chinese had over Sri Lankan economy and future of Sri Lanka under the rule of Mahinda, China virtually took over the economic development of Sri Lanka and it is highly unlikely they would not have carried out such exploration of oil using the opportunity they had. After hitting oil, they may have decided to close it temporarily with a shallow concrete plug . Oil coming under pressure from below could leak in this manner. This is only a possibility. Further investigations are needed to establish the truth.

    2. The oil film could also originate from waste oil poured from garages in the peninsula. Also should be studied is what is happening to the waste oil inside the security zone. Put a ban on pouring oil on the ground in the peninsula. Collect the waste oil and use it for other purposes.

  • 0
    1

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 3
    0

    The Ruler should select appropriate advisers to guide. Of course, It is not necessary that the ruler need to know everything. In a response to Dr. Murali’s earlier response, I observed that the Provincial Minister was referring to a meeting some foreign experts (Drs) on the issue of water pollution, among them at least one of them did his Ph.D on fisheries! Not on water pollution!. At least, the Provincial Minister didn’t check the CV of the so called foreign expert before making a conclusion. With this kind of ignorance and arrogance, even God can’t help the Tamil People.

  • 1
    0

    The Ruler should select appropriate advisers to guide. Of course, It is not necessary that the ruler need to know everything. In a response to Dr. Murali’s earlier response, I observed that the Provincial Minister was referring to a meeting with some foreign experts (Dr) on the issue of water pollution, among them at least one of them did his Ph.D on fisheries! Not on water pollution!. At least, the Provincial Minister didn’t check the CV of the so called foreign expert before making a conclusion. With this kind of ignorance and arrogance, even God can’t help the Jaffna People

  • 3
    1

    Dear Dr.Vallipuranathan,

    Thanks for once again coming forward to present your perspectives on the well water pollution and the accusations flung at you. Please carry on courageously to draw attention to the pollution issue. I hope your chance meeting with the CM at the Kamban Kalagam will bear fruit.

    The most critical issues facing the people in the north is water availability and the quality of what is available. The sustenance of life and it’s quality depends availability of good quality water for human consumption, agriculture, industry, landscaping and sanitation. The pollution issue and the Jaffn

  • 6
    1

    Dear Dr.Vallipuranathan,

    Thanks for once again coming forward to present your perspectives on the well water pollution and the accusations flung at you. Please carry on courageously to draw attention to the pollution issue. I hope your chance meeting with the CM at the Kamban Kalagam will bear fruit.

    The most critical issues facing the people in the north is water availability and the quality of what is available. The sustenance of life and it’s quality depends availability of good quality water for human consumption, agriculture, industry, landscaping and sanitation. The pollution issue and the Jaffna river project are vital to the peninsula and should be the focus of the NPC and the national government. Dilly dallying and cheap politics should have no place.

    Further, what we need is not a Ramarajyam- a Utopia- but a Manuneethi Cholan, who will listen to the distress call of the people and responds quickly and wisely. Manuneethi Cholan of old, responded with much wisdom and justice the sound of the palace bell rung by a cow, distressed over the death of her calf run over by the prince’s chariot!

    We need visible action in the north to resolve problems accumulated and neglected over the decades, and those that have resulted from the long years of the war. The present and the future should be the pre-occupation of the NPC and not the past. We as citizens want to see visible and perceivable results and not the sound of hot air being blown.

    Teddy Roosefelt had once said , ‘ Do what you can, with what you have, where you are’ . This should be the mantra of the NPC. I will add ‘ do what you do properly, honestly, wisely, objectively, decently and quickly’.That is your duty. The results will be always right then, whatever the obstacles and difficulties.

    Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

  • 3
    0

    Dr Murali,

    Thanks again for all the information.

  • 2
    0

    Shouldn’t this issue be discussed openly with all interested parties in a special session during the the annual general meeting of Jaffna Science Association?

    Recently a retired Professor also commented about it in this site.

    When is the next annual general meeting of Jaffna Science Association?

  • 2
    6

    I can categorically say that there is a lot of misrepresentation here in the article.

    //When the NPC was established in 2013 two constituent party leaders (Members of Parliament) of TNA and a Member of the NPC contacted me and requested my service as Secretary of Health to the NPC. I agreed to their request and sent my Curriculum Vitae by email to the Hon. Chief Minister of the NP. Subsequently I learnt that the previous Governor was not allowing any appointments by the NPC officials. //

    This is the first time the learned doctor lets the cat out of the bag. He was not eligible because the apparent agreement is to nominate only SLAS qualified professionals for those positions. I am not sure whether they followed this up. But, not getting a plum job cannot become a reason for someone to drive his pet hates.

    //Secondly members in the committee are having conflicts of interest. One member is having close ties with the CEB in an issue where the CEB is the main suspect.//

    I consider this a blatant lie. If the learned doctor has any proff, he should name the person and list the links. Basically, he shoud put up or shut up. This kind of conspiracy theories and insinuations not only damage the repution of the professional in Sri Lanka, but also leads to an understandbale distrust among people.

    //Further he stated that persons were spreading rumors that the oil waste had reached Kopay and Tellipalai. I categorically state that spread of petroleum waste to Kopay and Tellipalai were not rumors but confirmed by the samples obtained by the Central Health Ministry Officials and tested with Government Analyst Department in February 2015. //

    This is a lie. NOBODY to date has tested the groundwater of Jaffna for petroleum pollution. I am challening the learned doctor to show any reference to ‘petroleum waste’ in Jaffna water by the Central Health Ministry officials.

    The learned doctor can use his titles and positions to mislead the readership here.

    Jaffna water is more dangerous because of the nitrate, toilet-waste and pesticides than the oil pollution.

    There is a serious health issue in the North Central and Uva proovinces due to groundwater, in a massive scale with kidney failure and all, in the very region of President Sirisena. This has not been discussed in the ‘essay’.

    The main conflict of interest seems to be the one of the learned doctor with the NPC here.

    The learned doctor may have to take his own advice, “Hence it become important in the interest of the people and future generations to reveal the truth and scientific facts behind this issue without any conflict of interest.”

    • 1
      1

      “The learned doctor can use his titles and positions to mislead the readership here.”

      What are the academic qualifications of Mr.Aynkaranesan? Does he know something about environment? If he is incompetent his advisers can mislead him.

      • 0
        0

        It seems, the man has Masters in Botany and a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism and Communication. Is that good enough for you? Manmohan Singh obtained a looooong list of degrees. Did he make a good leader? What was Nelson Mandela’s qualifications?

        • 0
          0

          Rohan,

          What is your source?

          I found that:

          “Mr.P.Ayngaranesan, a graduate of Madras Christian College, is an environmentalist and was running a tutory, Universal Science Centre, in Kantharmadam, Jaffna. He was the Director of that institution from 1977 to 1996. He was born in 1958.”

          http://www.jaffnahindu.org/news/hindu-old-boys-p-ayngaranesan-and-b-gajatheepan-elected-to-northern-provincial-council-72.html

          An old boy of Jaffna Hindu who went to Chennai to a private Christian college and became a tuition master?

          What did he do after 1996?

          Isn’t he the guy who was in a fist fight last year in a NPC meeting? I am pretty sure he is.

          • 0
            0

            “Isn’t he the guy who was in a fist fight last year in a NPC meeting? I am pretty sure he is.”

            Yes. He was among the members of the NPC who got in a fight with others. I believe that both sides (TNA and EPDP) claimed private defense because the other party attacked them. There were pictures in the media of EPDP members admitted to Jaffna Teaching Hospital after the fight. Unless the case has been settled it should continue in court. The media seems to have forgotten this case.

            Innocent until proven guilty.

        • 0
          0

          “In Sri Lanka, Tamil journalists have been pre-
          vented from investigating the impact of the
          military presence on the Jaffna Peninsula’s
          natural areas and in some cases have been
          threatened for trying to do so. An environ-
          mentalist writer called Ayngaranesan said:
          “Since 2006, I have been seeking information
          about the deforestation in certain military-
          controlled areas. The military have totally dis-
          rupted the ecosystem for security reasons. I
          recently wanted to write an article about the
          environmental impact of the refugee camps
          set up by the government but the editor said
          the subject was too sensitive.”

          https://www.rsf.org/IMG/rapport_en_md.pdf

          This must be part of his environmental and political activism. My guess is that he was working for Uthayan.

  • 4
    0

    The concepts, details and benefits of the ‘Jaffna River’ project are explained in the following presentation by Mr.Thiru Arumugam, the son of engineer Arumugam who furthered the ideas of a Diutchman developed during Dutch Colonial rule. This concept yet remains valid and feasible, despite the Kilinochchi-Jaffna water sharing arguments/ disputes promoted by our visionless politicians. We do not need piped drinking water fromthe Irranaimadu tank for Jaffna, if the Jaffna River project is implemented at much lesser cost.

    http://www.asiantribune.com/node/86852

    (This study was also published in sveral websites and newspapers)

    In addition, the water security in Jaffna achieved over centuries through wells should not be abandoned and let to recede in to oblivion. The subterranean water recharging system using run-off rain water, temple ponds (Theertham) and other tanks should be also further developed and modernized. Existing temple ponds and small tanks (Kernies) should be desilted and deepened. Dumping garbage into and in the vicinity of these small tanks, should be strictly forbidden and declared a criminal offence.

    The OOTRU ORGANIZATion founded by Dr.Krishnandasivam, did farsighted yeomen service by mobilizing students and other volunteers in the 1970-80’s to desilt temple ponds. Community participation in such projects should be encouraged and the OOTRU efforts revived.

    Further, flood irrigation should be minimized and modern techniques such as spinkler, drip and clay pipe, should be encouraged to minimize subterranean water pollution. This should go hand in hand with farmer education in fertilizer and pesticide use. Green house agriculture should also be encouraged, wherever possible to minimize evapoortaive loss and insecticide use. Aphids may be also used to minimize insect pests.

    Strict guidelines should be formulated and enforced on the minimum distance between toilet/septic tanks and wells. If the current wells and toilets do not comply, solution have to be provided. The introduction of DRY TOILETS may be a very prcatical and efficient alternative. They are becoming increasingly popular in Tndia.

    Guidelines regarding disposal of used oil, greese and oil polluted water should also be developed and enforced.

    Finally. domestic size Reverse Osmosis units should be introduced. I have one such unit in my home in Jaffna. They are easy to maintain and cost effective. I boil the RO filtered water on a solar cooker and then filter it again through a regular ceramic-carbon filter. These procedures produce safe and minimally saline water for drinking and cooking purposes.

    Of course, solutions to the oil pollution issue should be foud as a matter of urgency.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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      “Dumping garbage into and in the vicinity of these small tanks, should be strictly forbidden and declared a criminal offence.”

      It already is an offense but the people don’t understand it and the authorities don’t do they duty. I posted the link to the Environmental Act earlier in a comment to Dr Murali’s previous article.

      Do you have any idea where all the garbage of Jaffna goes? Out of sight and out of mind but dumped somewhere without any treatment.

      “Strict guidelines should be formulated and enforced on the minimum distance between toilet/septic tanks and wells.”

      These already exist but are not enforced by the authorities. Middle class government servants are not going to tell somewhat dangerous poor families living in their clusters that they have to change their living arrangements. This is due to fear and total disinterest.

      “If the current wells and toilets do not comply, solution have to be provided.”

      Should be provided. The poor need many other basic things also. I think that half of the children are malnourished.

      “Finally. domestic size Reverse Osmosis units should be introduced.”
      Too expensive for most starting at 25000 with high running costs. The poor don’t have electricity to use them.

      “I have one such unit in my home in Jaffna. They are easy to maintain and cost effective.”

      For the average villagers they are too complicated and expensive.

      “I boil the RO filtered water on a solar cooker and then filter it again through a regular ceramic-carbon filter.”

      Why bother if you have R/O that you trust?

      I don’t think that you have any idea of how average people in Jaffna live. Our politicians and government servants have the same problem.

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        Heretic,

        Thanks. I lived at the time late Mayor Alfred Duraiappa successfully accomplished the installation of flush toilets in Jaffna and stopped the practice of manual removal of night soil daily.He arranged to subsidise the cost of transformation.

        The cost of domestic R.O units can be reduced through waiving import duty and subsdizing a part of the cost. Operation of these units do not involve input of chemicals, but require periodic change of filters and the cylinder containing the membrane. Power requirements are minimal and electricity is now available in most households and would reach the rest soon.

        My RO is working efficiently in terms of its size and is installed under the kitchen sink. It is made by an American company in Taiwan. I have found through experience that boiling the RO filtered water on the solar cooker precipitates the residual salt quite visibly.

        Further, I am aware of both the poverty and depravity in Jaffna. Poverty does not prevent people from learning enough to safeguard their health. As you rightly alluded it is the public services and the politicians who have failed the people.

        Dr.RN

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    Thanks Dr Murali for your article on science, Politics and water pollution. A lot of information disclosed! I have below addressed some issues which are more for your concern in the future…
    1. Well, while you project yourself as a specialist on Community Medicine and also with a sound knowledge on research methodology, I’m sure that you agree that research is not a value free science and hence, researchers are not totally objective, but all we try to produce scientific results based on differently designed methodology to reach the utopian goal of objectivity/value neutrality.

    2. What I infer from your writing is that you are upset by the activities of some of our politicians who are not responsible in the NPC for what they are for; instead they misuse their power and their priorities are ridiculous etc. I agree that the basic manner of replying to the letters and emails to the public of a public servant should be reinstated with PUNISHMENT. There is no culture of replying to the letters or mails in the government offices.

    3. When I listened to Health Minister’s interview in the link you attached I could sense that https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XhluWsel4I&feature=youtu.be There ARE DIFFERENT POLITICS at play behind this water issue at Chunnakam with different motives! The people who are in the area are RARELY represented. Hence, he named some of the academic from the Universities who are in the Group of Experts and while he was asked to name some of those, he said ‘Ravindran’ from the Dept of Geography, University of Jaffna. I know and have read international article written on hydrology and ground water by a lady scholar Dr Rajasooriar from the same department, and she is still pursuing other researches on water along with the other expertise in the area Dr Thusiyanthy Mihunthan, Dept of Agriculture. But Ravindran is a senior lecturer in planning, the supporter of LTTE and the brother of Gajenthiran, MP of TNA! With what capacity on water he was chosen in the Group of Expertise?

    4. My utmost question is why no one reveals the results in transparent manner done by different panel of experts in water? The reports should be published with an interpretation which public can understand easily. Please instead condemning each other for their misconduct/irresponsibility (I agree that we should do to correct them), contact the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) and the other panel of experts NPC hired to produce the results to this citizen media to annihilate the water-phobia and the water stress people undergo in the region. That is what I think as a concerned citizen/human with academic knowledge should do.

    5. I also kindly request the Tamil scholars who are really concerned with the life and law and order of Tamils in the post war scenario should start any of their attempts among us before opening up to the larger public. Changes or critical discussions will take time to come to a compromise/understanding/correction/consensus.
    The right to information which eliminate the collective phobia of a population is not denied I think in the upcoming regulation?

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      “But Ravindran is a senior lecturer in planning, the supporter of LTTE and the brother of Gajenthiran, MP of TNA! With what capacity on water he was chosen in the Group of Expertise?”

      I doubt the expertise of the members of the group and the minister. They are suitable for politics but not capable otherwise.

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    [Edited out] Please write instead of posting links – CT

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    Analytical cost
    Ground-water contamination by crude oil, and other petroleum-based liquids, is a widespread problem. An understanding of the fate of organic contaminants (such as oil, diesel and gasoline) in the subsurface is needed to design innovative and cost-effective remedial solutions at contaminated sites. The fate, transport, and multiphase flow of hydrocarbons depends on geochemical processes and on the processes of vola- tilization, dissolution, biodegradation, transport, and sorption. An interdisciplinary investigation of these processes is critical to successfully evaluate the migration of hydrocarbons in the subsurface. Knowledge of the geochemistry of a contaminated aquifer is important to understanding the chemical and biological processes controlling the migration of hydrocarbon contaminants in the subsurface.

    Out of 10,000 wells in Chunnakam area.
    Water samples should be collected from at least 1000 wells.
    These water samples should be analysed for following analytes.
    Laboratory analysis cost – Sri Lankan Rs: 1,85,000/per sample.
    Who will pay?

    Pesticides Organochlorine Pesticides (OCPs)
    Aldrin, α-BHC, β-BHC, γ-BHC, Chlordane, Dieldrin, p,p’-DDE, o,p-DDT, p,p’-DDT, Endrin, á-Endosulfan,
    α -Endosulfan, Heptachlor, Mirex, Toxaphene
    Organophosphorus Pesticides (OCPs)
    Chlorpyrifos, Malathion, Methyl Parathion
    Herbicides, 2,4-D and Carbamates
    PCBs Dioxin like (coplanar) congeners, Indicator congeners,
    Mono-ortho and Di-ortho congeners
    Dioxin & Furan 7 Dioxin congeners and 10 Furan congeners
    HCB, THM Hexachlorobenzene, Trihalomethanes
    HAPs Polynuclear aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs),
    Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs),
    Organo-Metallic Compounds
    BTEX Benzene, Toluene, Ethyl Benzene, m-Xylene, p-Xylene, o-Xylene
    Carbonyls Carbonyl Compounds (Aldehydes and Ketones)

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    //But oil pollution in drinking water more appropriately should have been investigated by a doctor specialized in environmental medicine or toxicology or epidemiology. //

    Why? We need Engineers or Scientists with clear understanding of oil pollution to take care of this issue. The doctors in Sri Lanka are mainly taking care of sick people and give out medicine.

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    Ground-water contamination by crude oil, and other petroleum-based liquids, is a widespread problem. An understanding of the fate of organic contaminants (such as oil, diesel and gasoline) in the subsurface is needed to design innovative and cost-effective remedial solutions at contaminated sites. The fate, transport, and multiphase flow of hydrocarbons depends on geochemical processes and on the processes of vola- tilization, dissolution, biodegradation, transport, and sorption. An interdisciplinary investigation of these processes is critical to successfully evaluate the migration of hydrocarbons in the subsurface. Knowledge of the geochemistry of a contaminated aquifer is important to understanding the chemical and biological processes controlling the migration of hydrocarbon contaminants in the subsurface.

    Out of 10,000 wells in Chunnakam area.
    Water samples should be collected from at least 1000 wells.
    These water samples should be analysed for following analytes.
    Laboratory analysis cost – Sri Lankan Rs: 1,85,000/per sample.
    Who will pay?

    Group Analytes
    Pesticides Organochlorine Pesticides (OCPs)
    Aldrin, α-BHC, β-BHC, γ-BHC, Chlordane, Dieldrin, p,p’-DDE, o,p-DDT, p,p’-DDT, Endrin, á-Endosulfan,
    α -Endosulfan, Heptachlor, Mirex, Toxaphene
    Organophosphorus Pesticides (OCPs)
    Chlorpyrifos, Malathion, Methyl Parathion
    Herbicides, 2,4-D and Carbamates
    PCBs Dioxin like (coplanar) congeners, Indicator congeners,
    Mono-ortho and Di-ortho congeners
    Dioxin & Furan 7 Dioxin congeners and 10 Furan congeners
    HCB, THM Hexachlorobenzene, Trihalomethanes
    HAPs Polynuclear aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs),
    Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs),
    Organo-Metallic Compounds
    BTEX Benzene, Toluene, Ethyl Benzene, m-Xylene, p-Xylene, o-Xylene
    Carbonyls Carbonyl Compounds (Aldehydes and Ketones)

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      Ha… when someone talks about money, the noisy commentators seem to shut their traps…

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        Rohan,

        You also seem to be silent regarding the less than perfect background of our Provincial Minister for environment.

        Dr Murali is an educated gentleman and a real Tamil nationalist who doesn’t write about the background of people. I do.

        I don’t want to insult anybody but is a former tuition master with a degree from a private college in Chennai suitable as a minister in charge of environmental problems? What is the quality of such a degree? The people going to those colleges are the ones who have money and are too weak to study at, for instance, University of Jaffna. Did he maybe study with the VC?

        In addition to this he apparently has appointed his political cronies and others without the necessary scientific knowledge as experts to study the water problem.
        Isn’t one of the experts an expert on fish? Since fish live in water he is able to study the Chunnakam water problem? Is that the logic?

        Then we have his involvement in the ITAK vs EPDP fight that he never has denied.

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          “I don’t want to insult anybody but is a former tuition master with a degree from a private college in Chennai suitable as a minister in charge of environmental problems? What is the quality of such a degree? The people going to those colleges are the ones who have money and are too weak to study at, for instance, University of Jaffna. Did he maybe study with the VC?”

          Nope. Vasanthy the VC of the “university of premises” received her degree from University of Madras.

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    Tamils, whether they be educated or mere day-workers, the tend to quarrel, this trait
    cannot be overcome?
    Whilst the question at issue will take a long timw to conclude, I wrote direct to the CM
    NP and the Chairman NPC about seeking the assistance of Tamil Nadu on the large No.
    of Salt water desalination projects undertaken by an Authority around Chennai for
    asssistance and hope they have moved? I even suggested to the HC/India that during the
    last visit of Hon.Modi, a Gift of such kind be made to NPC.

    The Presidential Palace built in NP has been provided smaller units for Desalinated
    water, at Rs. 2 million each? Why not use such facilites around the clock to transfer
    by bowser to most needed locations with storing facilities and overlooked by volunteers?

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    Dear Steven Arulanantham,

    Do you have any idea on how many wells are in Chunnakam and in adjoining area?

    Do you have any idea how water samples to be collected, i.e., sampling procedures, in this problem?

    Dear Alex Jude,

    I would like to bring your kind consideration that our researchers in the Sri Lankan universities are not problem solvers. The are trouble makers. The way in which they they do research. Do not trust them for this kind of problem especially Thusiyanthy Mihunthan and others.

    The person involved in the so called expert committee Velayutahamurthy is UK scholar in Chemistry, but he was unable device at least fair procedure in their water analysis.

    It is interesting to know that these so called experts are going to publish their findings on “Water problem in Jaffna peninsula” in JSA on 05th and 06th of May 2015 at the University of Jaffna. How is it? These experts are not liable to solve the problem in Chunnakam, but they are talking about Jaffna peninsula water problem. Their data were extrapolated to Jaffna from Chunnakam. They are very good in Interpolation and Extrapolation techniques.

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      Dr Sivakumar has been releasing a lot of informaion, in seminars and in research gate. Can we trust him?

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    Dear Ehiri,

    Do you have any idea on how many wells are in Chunnakam and in adjoining area?
    My answer: Yes I know

    Do you have any idea how water samples to be collected, i.e., sampling procedures, in this problem?
    My answer: Yes I know

    What about you?

    Do you know the answer for your questions please?

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    Interestingly, all the areas with high incidence of CKDu are located around reservoirs of the irrigation systems. In contrast, those communities who draw their drinking water from natural springs have few kidney failures among them. Is it something in the irrigated water – and if so, what?

    Planet Earth is capable of springing some nasty surprises on us, even without any human provocation. As earth scientists remind us, this is an inevitable part of living on a restless planet.

    In 2009, the World Health Organisation (WHO, a specialised agency of the UN system) and the Health Ministry’s epidemiological unit appointed 10 study groups to study this problem. Their findings have been submitted to the government but not yet released. Why?

    We cannot afford bureaucratic apathy in a matter of such urgency and importance. The outcome of public science must be shared with the public and media in the public interest.

    Beware of opportunists!

    Delays in releasing research and analysis will only allow speculation and conspiracy theories to gain momentum. Selfish opportunists are already flocking to CKDu hit areas apparently seeking to implicate their pet hates. Sadly, some of these speculations are being peddled – and even cheered — by sections of our media without due diligence.

    Such tilting at windmills is muddying the already suspect waters and can confuse policy makers. Senior scientists like Prof Oliver Ileperuma and Prof C B Dissanayake – at the forefront in related research — have stressed the need to separate facts from speculation and myths.

    Another fervent plea for sanity appeared recently in the respected Ceylon Medical Journal (CMJ). Established in 1887, CMJ is published by the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA), the national professional body of doctors. Writing in the December 2011 issue, three medical researchers — A R Wickremasinghe, R J Peiris-John and K P Wanigasuriya – called for dispassionate discussion of current knowledge and gaps.

    Given the widespread discussion and debate in the media recently, they urged, “it is timely that the available, credible, scientific evidence on CKDu (published in peer reviewed journals) is collated and analysed, and the difficulties faced in establishing causality are discussed.” (Emphasis mine)

    The authors added: “The cause of CKDu is likely to be multifactorial. At this point in time there is insufficient evidence to pinpoint a cause(s). Both the wellbeing of residents of the NCP and the enormous drain on health system resources and the economy demand that resolving the issue is a national priority.”

    Medical doctors are on the frontline in treating affected people and counselling devastated families. But CKDu is much more than a mere medical or health emergency. Interdisciplinary studies are needed – involving both natural and social scientists – and with adequate coverage, intensity and scientific rigour.

    Miracles and Sacred Cows

    Scientific credibility requires that such studies are peer reviewed and published in national and international journals of high standing. Making unfounded claims at press conferences and throwing wild allegations in TV talk shows might create some ripples, but such grandstanding doesn’t help anyone.

    The National Science Foundation (NSF), our main research funder and agenda setter, can provide directions. We also need NSF to ensure the findings are widely discussed in policy, professional and public forums. Secrecy is not an option.

    There is no room for miracles or absolute truths in science. By its very definition, science is open to rigorous scrutiny, challenge and refinement. CKDu is no exception.

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    Impact of changing agricultural practices on human health: Chronic kidney disease of multi-factorial origin in Sri Lanka
    By Shehani A. Wimalawansa* and Sunil J. Wimalawansa#
    Wudpecker Journal of Agricultural Research Vol. 3(5), pp.110 – 124, May 2014

    Non-harmonious and unsustainable agricultural practices have major impact on the environment, causing animal and human diseases. Agriculture is an essential part of our lives. However, excessive use of agrochemicals, and irresponsible and harmful agricultural habits cause soil and water pollution, and secondary contamination of human food chain. Contamination of soil and water with toxic agrochemicals (e.g., phosphate fertilizer contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides and herbicides etc.) is a particular concern. These pollutants in water generally are in small quantities, and thus, cannot be seen or tasted. Therefore, their harmful effects do not manifest in humans for several years. During the past three decades, an escalating incidence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) of an unusual nature has manifested in agricultural dry-zonal areas in several tropical countries, including Sri Lanka, but no specific cause has been determined to-date. However, current evidence suggests that more than one component is involved in this geo-water-related preventable health epidemic; hence using the terminology, CKD of multi-factorial origin (CKD-mfo). Detrimental agricultural habits, including excessive and indiscriminate use of toxic agrochemicals, not using protective gear when using agrochemicals, drinking contaminated water from paddy fields and from contaminated shallow dug- wells, and allowing continued environmental contamination, have led to the escalation of this deadly disease in these regions. The epidemic has detrimental effects not only on affected families, but also on the socio economic aspects of villages, the region, and the entire country. While providing clean water to villages, enhancing awareness and education, and preventing environmental pollution, each country that is affected with CKD-mfo (CKDu) must seek to identify and eliminate the root causes of the disease to prevent its progress, with a specific action plan to eliminate it. Unless corrective steps are taken in a timely and effective manner, the situation is likely to worsen drastically damaging their economies and the humanity. However, it is not too late to reverse this negative vicious cycle of death and destruction, and bring back prosperity to the region.

    Currently, Sri Lankan farmers use around 600,000 tons of solid fertilisers and 250,000 tons of liquid fertilisers annually (data from the Department of Agriculture). The current fertiliser used in Sri Lanka include approximately 300,000 tons of urea, 120,000 tons of TSPs, 150,000 tons of muriate of potash, 50,000 tons of ammonium sulphate, and 50,000 tons of TSP from Eppawala apatite. Fertiliser use in the three largest provinces in Sri Lanka is as follows: NCP, 130,000; North Western Province, 96,000; and Eastern Province, 100,000 hectares.

    What about Northern Province?
    Why no data?

    What is the reason so called learned Doctors (MOHs) including Jaffna Medical association President, never taken any interest to analyse the ground water (well water) for following analysis?
    Pesticides & Herbicides
    What is the reason?
    Are they receiving any presents or other benefits?

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    Everyone has an axe to grind. The learned doctor has his own pet hate.

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    Dear all,

    I believe that this is the second time our president expresses doubts about the way water problems are taken care of in the North. He is the minister for environment also.

    As a resident of Jaffna Peninsula I am very thankful for this attention shown to our water and sand mining problems that are, of course, linked.

    http://defence.lk/new.asp?fname=President_directs_solve_drinking_water_problem_of_North_20150429_04

    President directs solve drinking water problem of North

    President Maithripala Sirisena underscored that everyone should be dedicated to solving the drinking water problem of the North in a more humane manner.

    The President laid this emphasis at a special gathering held at the auditorium of the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment on Monday (April 27) to discuss the drinking water issue of the North.

    The President asserted to the Ministry officials the importance of constantly holding talks with the parties concerned to sort out the drinking water problem which has become a grave issue for the Northern civilians. The President instructed them to maintain frequent contacts with the Northern Governor and the Chief Minister and finalize the necessary arrangements.

    President Sirisena made inquiries from the officials on the illegal sand mining which has become a serious environmental threat in the North. Thereby, the President ordered that necessary initiatives be taken to curtail this situation and prevent a major environmental hazard from taking place. The President was of the view that laws related to illegal sand mining should be enforced to the letter.

    Courtesy : President Media Unit

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    After Tsunami, Sri Lankan Red Cross worked with American Red Cross to develop “clay water filter technology” and supplied locally made clay water filters to affected families.

    Why not check oil droplets (size is about 0.04 mm) can be filtered by the same clay water filters and then supply it to affected families in Chunnakam area?

    Then we’ll continue our discussions on who is to blame? and who mismanaged it?

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    Congratulations – Murali (Krishna)

    It is a superb logical scientific presentation. Even at the highest court of the people forum defense lawyer, will have nothing to defend. People/population will not have power. But they have wisdom and dharmic sense. Platform orations does not exonerate sins and sinners.

    Professionals scientific personal should not behave as brokers. They should be truthful and honest to knowledge

    Wheal of Dharma does not stop for weeping widows, nor for mighty emperors. Jaffna had witnessed so many mighty emperor’s crowns and heads rolling. The cry of people will definitely, annihilate power and seats who are atharmic, Cheaters, Hippocrates.

    We had witnessed such acts for the last Fifty /Sixty years and experienced the effects of it. Men/women with parched hearts are the asuras as per all epics of the world.

    The greatest Dharma is to give clean water to a thirsty person/ people. Don’t use Rama’s name for adharmic purpose. Definition of Dharma is not the same as that of olden days of Rama. We are living in 21st centaury – Norms are different.

    Happy to note that Hon. President and Hon. Prime Minister had taken this issue seriously and had a discussion with a view to resolve the core problem. Hope and pray the problem will be tackled professionally, scientifically with speed and with long term and short term targets.

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    Competent person to work on Groundwater Pollution should have following qualification and also few years of experience in this field.

    B.Sc. Geology (Hons)/M.Sc. in Hydrogeology/Ph.D. in Hydrogeology

    Or

    B.Sc. Geology (Hons)/M.Sc. in Geophysics/Ph.D. in Geophysics

    Or

    B.Sc. Geology (Hons)/M.Sc. in Geochemistry/Ph.D. in Geochemistry

    Our learned Professors and learned Doctors living in Sri Lanka and abroad,

    Could you please advice our community any Tamil person has above said qualifications?

    Note:
    I know one person, Late Dr Kalayogi Ananda Coomaraswamy.

    [In 1900, Coomaraswamy graduated from University College, London, with a degree in geology and botany. Coomaraswamy’s fieldwork between 1902 and 1906 earned him a doctor of science for his study of Ceylonese mineralogy, and prompted the formation of the Geological Survey of Ceylon, which he initially directed].

    Do you know any Tamil person has at least B.Sc. Geology (Hons) degree????

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      Steven Arulanandan.

      Thanks for invoking the name of late D.Ananda Coomraswamy, an eminent geologist of his time, who transcended that confine to become a world renowned orientalist. He is remembered today for his contributions to that field. The ‘Dance of Siva’ and ‘Medieval Sinhalese Art’ are books, among many that stand testimony to his genius.

      You have also in the process inadvertently underscored the fact that for a persons trained to think and seek in a disciplined and objective manner, their fields of specialty are no barrier to exploring new fields of study and excelling in them.

      What is lacking in the attempts to resolve the water pollution, quality and quantity problems confronting the Jaffna peninsula is the absence of dedicated high quality leadership to set a vision, lay down objectives, mobilize skills and drive the process.

      Dr.RN

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    “Could you please advice our community any Tamil person has above said qualifications?”

    Why a Tamil? All Tamils will be accused of something by other Tamils.

    Better bring in an independent foreigner to examine the water to find out if something is wrong.

    Can the president please do this ASAP!

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      //Better bring in an independent foreigner to examine the water to find out if something is wrong.//

      Yeah?

      //Why a Tamil? All Tamils will be accused of something by other Tamils. //

      You thing, the Tamil will not accuse a foreigner? The rumour-mongers have already put out stories, suggesting that Northern Power has bribed the members of the Expert Panel with houses in Malaysia? They would easily blame the international experts as Northern Power (or whatever) agent.

      There are some international experts in the mix, working on this oil pollution issue. But, the ‘brainy’ guys have already labelled them “Diaspora Agents”. Can you ever win????

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    “You thing, the Tamil will not accuse a foreigner? The rumour-mongers have already put out stories, suggesting that Northern Power has bribed the members of the Expert Panel with houses in Malaysia? They would easily blame the international experts as Northern Power (or whatever) agent.”

    What I am suggesting is that the president brings in a foreign team or even better teams and keeps all of us natives out of this. Not polite or politically correct but the only way out. Find some, for instance, Swiss professionals that know nothing about our local politics and care even less. Let them do the work and publish the results.

    I will not trust any results that come from local experts, labs etc. Even with good experts the labs cannot be trusted, samples can be tampered etc.

    I think that we already have read and heard enough about the members of the so called “Expert Panel” and the Provincial Minister for poultry to loose our faith in them even without rumors of houses in Malaysia. Can a SL citizen own a house in Malaysia without having a resident visa or something? Why give a house when an envelope with cash is much harder to trace? Here again we find the common Jaffna dream of migrating to a better place.

    The Central Environmental Authority ( http://www.cea.lk ) lab apparently tests water for oil and grease. Cost is 1000 rs for each sample.

    Has the CEA done anything in this matter? I haven’t heard of any action.

    Contaminating ground water is a criminal offense. Does the CID need a written police complaint with evidence of pollution to act?

    In our country as usual nobody is clearly in charge. Even less in this province where the NPC is still learning to walk.

    Dear President. Please save us from this mess!

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      “What I am suggesting is that the president brings in a foreign team or even better teams and keeps all of us natives out of this. Not polite or politically correct but the only way out.”

      My preference is to discuss this issue in a Forum where people identify themselves openly. This is a technical discussion, and there is no reason for a cover.

      There is a serious health issue in the farming areas in Southern Sri Lanka. The Government commissioned some studies in 2009 with the World Health Organisation to identify the reason for the chronic kidney disease. We do not have a clear position yet. Well, my point is that a Presidential Directive (remember that Mr Sirisena is from Polannaruwa) also would not bring a solution.

      It is true that CEA found oil and grease in a number of samples. But, O&G is NOT petroleum hydrocarbon. To date, as far as I know, only 12 samples were collected and analysed for individual components of petroleum hydrocarbons. FROG 4000 quantified BTEX. As far as I know, there were no other significant ‘peaks’ in the FROG 4000 profiles. So, it is fair to say that there were no other petroleum hydrocarbons of concern in those wells.

      By the way, I have seen a letter by the Ministry of Health, suggesting that there is no point continuing testing as most of the wells they inspected were unsafe and unhygienic. MoH recommended the MHOs in the area to organise cleaning of those wells. I would recommend a good wash of all wells. Did anyone follow that up? Did any doctors who insist on action ask the MHOs to follow the guidance in MoH circular? Pump the wells out, with a good flush. Let us see whether the oil layer redevelops. Few wells may, but I do not expect in any sheen many wells. I do not reject the claim of that there was a visible sheen and clear smell of petroleum. But, reappearance, in my view, is less likely now.

      There are authorised laboratories in Sri Lanka, which should be trusted. We need to drill bores around the alleged source of oil pollution. I am sure, Ceylon Electricity Board and their contractors and subsidiaries (Northern Power, Uthuru Janani and such) would cooperate fully as they claim that they have nothing to hide.

      A comprehensive study is critical. We have expertise to design those experiments and analyse the results. As Steven Arulanatham suggested, we may not have geologists, but we have professionals among us to explain what is going on. We need empowerment, funding, cooperation and a bit of space to do the work.

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    Bala,

    “My preference is to discuss this issue in a Forum where people identify themselves openly. This is a technical discussion, and there is no reason for a cover.”

    I don’t think that you live in Jaffna. Are you not aware of our local culture of anonymous death threats and other filth spread by letters, emails and posters? Unknown persons throwing stones, beatings etc? What happened with a recent book launch and why? How are dissidents like the VC, Douglas, Prof Balasundrapillai and the Hoole brothers treated? If Dr Murali also receives an anonymous “greeting” I will not be surprised at all!

    If you have read my comments you should by now know why I try to hide my identity. I live in Jaffna not some far away democracy.

    “It is true that CEA found oil and grease in a number of samples. But, O&G is NOT petroleum hydrocarbon. To date, as far as I know, only 12 samples were collected and analysed for individual components of petroleum hydrocarbons.”

    So the CEA has been active in Chunnakam and found oil and grease? Who was looking for petroleum hydrocarbons in 12 wells?

    How many studies have been done, by whom and WHERE ARE THE RESULTS???

    I am beginning to think that there have been 5 studies. The only results I have seen so far were delivered in an anonymous letter.

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