In 2008, the project to establish a sanitary landfill in Waga Pelpola has been abandoned thanks to the protests carried on by local communities and EJOs . The proposed site was not far from Labugama water facility which provides drinking water to about 2 million people in Colombo city. Moreover the location was in the middle of "Indikada Mukalana" Forest reserve which releases water to three of the main Sri Lankan rivers. According to the proposal made by the Central Environmental Authority, approximately 90 metric tons of unsorted waste collected from Maharagama, Homagama and Sithawaka areas would have been brought to the site but people complained that the landfill would have became the dumping site for Colombo metropolitan garbage too, hurting this sensitive area .
In view of the strong public protest demonstrated against the proposed landfill project at Waga, the government decided to suspend it and to change the project site from Waga to Dompe. At the moment also the communities living in Dompe are protesting against the new project, stating the same criticism faced by Waga people .
However waste disposal is still a serious issue in Sri Lanka. Owing to the population growth, urbanization and changing in people lifestyles the generation of municipal solid waste from both domestic and commercial source has dramatically increased over the past three decades. Following the statements by CEJ which is engaged in the ‘waste debate’ since 2000, the prevalent municipal solid waste management practices in the country are highly deficient and dated. A system of throwing waste on to the streets by the people and local bodies collecting such waste from the streets and disposing it in the most unhygienic manner is the current practice. Generally, no storage of waste is being done at the source and instead domestic, commercial and industrial, including bio-medical, waste are thrown on to the streets, footpaths, drains and water bodies. Moreover construction and demolition wastes are also deposited on the roadside or open spaces.
For this reason in 2007 the CEJ filed a petition to the Appeal Court against the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) over the formulation of a National Policy for Solid Waste Management .
On October 2007 the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources has taken steps to formulate a National Policy on Solid Waste Management (NPSWM) and drafted new National Solid Waste Management Strategies for implementing the National Policy on Solid Waste Management. The “Pilisaru” national solid waste management program, financed by the Korean cooperation, was the concrete output of this effort (for more informations on Pilisaru program and NPSWM see [5,6]. However seen the oppositions by the local environmental organizations the problem haven’t been solved yet.
On October 2012 the Kolonnawa garbage dump has collapsed on the surrounding houses causing several damages to their inhabitants . More recently (2015) residents in the area of Kadiriyan’s garbage dump formed a committee (Theth Bim Kalamanakaranaya) and organized public protests and petitions to ask the dump to be shifted. Protesters state that the garbage dump is a breeding place for mosquitoes and other pests. They also said that the waste from this dump flows into close by rivers polluting their sources of water .
Hazardous waste is also a serious problem which Sri Lanka have to deal with. Following the declarations by Hemantha Withanage from CEJ electronic waste is still imported and dumped in the market and Holcim cement plant burns toxic waste in its factory in Puttalam with the approval of the North Western Provincial Environmental Authority generating pollution in Puttalam area .
Withanage adds ‘Waste problem will have no solution as long as we catch the issue from the dumping tail. Solution only can be made if we solve the problem at waste generation sources... Requiring industry to design waste reduction and reuse means that the quantity and toxicity of material is incrementally reduced towards zero. Allowing industry to manufacture goods and packaging without taking responsibility for their end-of-life use means that we face an ever-increasing quantity of more complex and more toxic waste' .(See less)