Even as thousands fell victim to the dengue epidemic amidst a worsening garbage crisis, Sri Lanka’s health ministry appeared to be among the most ‘unhealthiest’ of places in the city, as dozens of bags with reeking garbage continued to pile up at the medical supplies division within the health ministry, an eyewitness told the Colombo Telegraph.
The medical supplies division which is located within the ministry of health on Deans Road, Colombo 10 is the main organisation responsible for providing all pharmaceuticals, surgical, laboratory and radioactive items for all government hospitals and other government healthcare institutions across the country. Sources pointed out that even though all medical supplies are stored in an enclosed area, having so much of garbage pile up next to this vital division is cause for concern.
The eyewitness said that the garbage has not been cleared for days, and the pile of reeking garbage continues to increase. The eyewitness also expressed his disgust over the government and health minister Rajitha Senaratne’s failure to take steps to clear the garbage from the health ministry, and especially next to the medical supplies division.
“Minister Rajitha Senaratne keeps boasting about taking steps to eradicate dengue from the country, but he can’t even clear up the garbage from his ministry,” the eyewitness lamented.
By mid this month, at least 227 people have been killed from the dengue epidemic, while at least several thousands have been infected, including children. The government has come under heavy criticism for letting the dengue epidemic spiral owing to its incompetence to sort out the worsening garbage crisis, with the government failing to take concrete steps to find a suitable alternative to dump garbage, since the Meethotamulla garbage dump collapse in April this year. The government’s failure to hold local government elections have also been cited as one reason which has contributed towards the increase in the dengue epidemic, as many residents complaint due to no proper officials at the municipal and urban councils, they are unable to even make a complaint when garbage collectors don’t come for weeks to homes and offices to collect garbage.