Rathupaswela water contamination, Sri Lanka

Venigross Gloves Factory is located in Rathupaswela (about 17 km from Colombo). The factory caused water contamination, affecting twelve villages. People demand clean drinking water.


<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns">Venigross Gloves Factory is located in Rathupaswela (about 17 km from Colombo). The factory has caused water contamination in a more than 3 km radius, affecting twelve villages. People affected by the factory demand clean drinking water. Their well water in fact has become acidic and people believe that it was due to the release of acidic effluent. On August 1st 2013 local residents held a demonstration and the government deployed military and killed 3 people, including a 17 year old school boy, Akila Dinesh, and many others got wounded. A Buddhist monk was also involved in the leadership of the mobilizations. This information has been provided by the Centre for Environmental Justice of Sril Lanka (http://www.ejustice.lk/) and a resident of the area seeking the removal of the factory. In a related incident strongly reminiscent of Rathupaswela, hundreds of people protested on March 15 and 16, 2014, demanding the closure of the Hanwella Rubber Products Factory (Sunday Times). A monk had informed the population that waste water from this rubber glove factory was contaminating the water. The monk informed them that pH levels in the groundwater were low and that it was not suitable for drinking. “He asked me to lead the residents near my house and to test the water in our wells for contamination,” a resident said. “Several of us did this and it was revealed that the pH levels were indeed low.” A large number of agitated families then stopped drinking from their wells. Some have to walk for miles to fetch ‘fresh’ water. </td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>Rathupaswela water contamination, Sri Lanka</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/sri-lanka">Sri Lanka</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>Western</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>Rathupaswela, Weliweriya</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>MEDIUM regional level</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Industrial and Utilities conflicts</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Water treatment and access to sanitation (access to sewage)<br /> Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/water'>Water</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Semi-urban</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Potential Affected Population</td><td>5,000</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>2013</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/venigross-ltd'>Venigross Ltd</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Relevant government actors</td><td>Central Environmental Authority (Sri Lanka)<br/><br/>Board of Investment (Sri Lanka)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>Centre for Environmental Justice (Sri Lanka)<br/><br/>Friends of the Earth (Sri Lanka)</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>Mobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>Local ejos<br /> Neighbours/citizens/communities<br /> Religious groups</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Street protest/marches</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Groundwater pollution or depletion<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Health Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other environmental related diseases</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Violations of human rights, Specific impacts on women, Loss of livelihood</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>In operation</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Deaths<br /> Repression<br /> Violent targeting of activists<br /> On August 1st 2013 local residents held a demonstration and the government deployed the military and killed 3 people, including a 17 year old school boy, Akila Dinesh, and many others got wounded</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Development of Alternatives</td><td>Stopping water pollution caused by rubber gloves factories</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>No</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>Nothing has been done, yet, it appears, to solve ground water pollution. There have been demonstrations and legal appeals (2014).</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">References</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Newspaper article on violent incidents at Rathupaswela and Hanwella (2013, 1014) in demonstrations against water pollution by rubber gloves factories<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.sundaytimes.lk/140323/news/hanwella-protest-a-repeat-of-rathupaswela-90206.html" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Asian Human Rights Report (see attachment)<br/></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Press release from Centre for Environmental Justice (Sri Lanka), CEJ and “Siyane Jalaya Syurakeeme Jana Neguma"<br /> file legal action seeking justice for people suffered by water pollution in Rathupaswala<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.ejustice.lk/PDF/Press%20release%20Rathupaswela.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Friends of the Earth<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.foei.org/en/what-we-do/land-grabbing/latest-news/2013/08/05" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Interview to Hemantha Withanage in Radio Mundo Real<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://radiomundoreal.fm/6977-ask-water-they-will-give-you-a?lang=es" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Petition in Change.org<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/condemn-the-killing-and-brutal-attack-on-the-peaceful-protestors-take-action-against-the-polluters-in-rathupaswela-sri-lanka?utm_campaign=mailto_link&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Media Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Large scale complaints in Rathuspaswala in TV news, 2013<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1RQl2p2ycg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other Documents</td><td><table><tr><td><p><strong>Asian Human Rights Commission Report</strong> <br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Rathupaswela_SriLanka.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>The protest at Weliweriya in 2013 over Rathupaswala water contamination</strong> Source: http://asianmirror.lk/news/item/14662-controversial-company-not-responsible-for-rathupaswala-water-contamination-cea<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/SriLanka_Rathupaswela.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>06/12/2016</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>
Comments