(Lanka-e-News -19.April.2017, 9.45PM) Garbage collection , recycling and re use of it are a science. There are hundreds of research papers written on this science and its findings . In the modern world garbage is not a waste but is something that is convertible for human use. In plain language garbage constitutes a source of income. Yet , unfortunately Sri Lankans look at it as something that is foul smelling and as unworthy disposable dirt .
It is because of this ‘dirty’ mindset, one throws one’s garbage secretly into the vicinity of a neighbor’s house. It is specially noteworthy , it is among a majority of the middle class who identify themselves as educated city folks this ‘dirty’ mental attitude prevails.
There was a report recently , a family in England ran an ordinary livestock farm . The solid and liquid excreta of the animals of the farm served to produce electricity which met the needs of the homes of 40 families in that village. The payment of bills for the electricity supply were made to the family owning the farm.
Sadly , in SL the Institutions , the chiefs of those Institutions and politicos responsible for the waste management are possessed of a ‘filthy ’ mentality . They are only obsessed with making a fast buck even from filth so much so they only look for avenues to achieve that ‘filthy’ goal , and not to resolve the country’s garbage disposal issues.
In such a country where such self seeking filthy ‘garbage rascals’ thrive compromising national interests , about 60 people dying following the collapse of a neglected garbage dump is unsurprising . Why a much worse disaster didn’t strike the hapless helpless people owing to these irresponsible rascals who are only chasing after filthy lucre is only a matter for surprise, and not the other way around. Thankfully , because the land at Meetotamulla was marshy the disaster was minimal , otherwise the tragedy would have been of most alarming proportions.
Though the world has advanced tremendously in relation to waste management , SL , the Island once called the pearl of the orient is still in the stone age. If SL is to manage the waste, and venture on recycling ,it must venture out from its stone age. It will need modern technologies , methodologies and huge capital .However , since SL is wanting in those spheres ,SL certainly needs foreign investment for waste management.
Indeed , several honest attempts were made in that direction , but because of the crooked and corrupt politicos whose gaze are fixed only on selfish gains - illicit commissions , several opportunities went begging .
It is Europe environmental Green Co. of North America that is leading in waste management in the world. Though this Co. is profit motivated , its policy and principle are mostly driven by social and democratic values.
A similar Canadian Green environmental Co. (let us not reveal the name) did an exhaustive research regarding our garbage disposal issue and handed over a project report to the Western provincial council about a year after the good governance government was installed in power. It was proposed in that report to burn the garbage collection in Colombo city , in order to generate Pyrolysis electricity . Further , based on a feasibility report , a ten acre land in Karadeniya , Piliyandala was identified by the company as suitable for the project .This solution is the most superior technological access now employed world wide. In all probability this was an environment friendly project , and the residual carbon is a by product . This carbon is specially used in countries with cold climates for the construction of roads. It was the aim of that company to export that by -product to Europe and North America .
There is about 85% moisture in the garbage collected in Colombo, Gampaha ad Kalutara districts because of the rainfall in those areas.. Such a moisture composition is most conducive to generation of electricity , according to the Co. Based on the Canadian company’s research 10 MW of electricity can be produced from 500 metric tons garbage.
It was their view there is a collection of 450-500 metric tons of garbage in Dehiwala- Mt. Lavinia area for a day. Out of the quantity of the total garbage collected in Colombo , 240 MW electricity can be generated per day was the opinion of that Canadian Co. based on their assessment. In fact , the garbage collected in Colombo is not adequate to meet the full capacity targeted by their project. In other words ,that Co. found an eco friendly total solution to the garbage disposal issue in Colombo !
In addition , the Co. had a solution to the wood residue that were being diverted to the Bolgoda Lake by the timber factories daily . They agreed to purchase the wood residue from the factory owners as a solution to the wood residue issue. The proposed initial investment of the Canadian Co. in this project was SL Rs. 4500 million (US dollars 50 million) .
Three rounds of discussions too were held between the representatives of the Canadian Co. and officials of Western P.C. and both parties agreed to commence the garbage disposal management project in Karadiyana , Piliyandala , and even the media reported it.
Interestingly and intriguingly , after the final round of discussion lasting several hours , it was the wife of Isuru Devapriya the chief minister of Western PC , cum his private secretary who gave a phone call to the chief representative of the Canadian Company’s delegation . She told the chief representative that she needed to talk to him. When her request was granted , she told at the discussion , if the approval is to be given a sum of US dollars 3 million (Rs. 450 million approximately !) was required.
The Candian representative replied , as a matter of policy their Co. does not pay bribes, because under the laws of the Canadian government such payments would render them liable to punishment in jail. However , if a bribe is indeed necessary , a donation can be made considering it as a community project . Giving bribes to politicians or officials is out of the question , the Canadian representative has told Isuru’s wife ( Isuru’s bribery representative !) . Thereafter , the entire project came to a grinding halt.
During this period , Champika Ranawake took over the ministerial portfolio of mega police .Somewhere in February 2016 , he itched to bring the garbage disposal under the Urban development authority . When tenders were called , 50 companies made bids . Finally a German Co. was selected for the project. (Let us not reveal the name of the Co.)
Isuru Devapriya who met with the president expressed his deep disappointment over the project of the Western PC being taken over by the Central government . Isuru being a lapdog of the president , the latter had melted when his lapdog was ‘sobbing.’ The president then appointed an officer (female) of his secretariat to probe into this issue and report back.
This officer ( yet another of the misfits appointed by the president) who realized there is a gold mine in the ‘garbage business’ , put her own fingers in the succulent pie. Instead of studying the reports of the Canadian and German companies , she got herself involved, and through her personal intervention and initiative made moves to grant this project to a South Korean Co. After receiving air tickets from the South Korean Co. she went on a family holiday to Singapore . All the expenses of that tour was met by that Co. The president who more often than not realizes his mistakes only after committing , immediately withdrew her from that task when he got wind of her rackets. Yet , no action was taken to resolve the garbage disposal issue . As always , finally bribery and rackets overrode national interests and the abysmally suffering people were neglected and left in the lurch .
When Western PC chief minister Isuru’s wife (Isuru’s bribery representative) was requesting a bribe from the Canadian Co. the officials of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) from the other side , also sought to get a share from the loot. The electricity produced by the Canada Co. shall be purchased by the CEB, they said. The CEB informed the Canadian Co. that it is possible to purchase the electricity at Rs. 23.10 per kilowatt for 20 long years.
But the Canadian Co. insisted there must be a price revision every 5 years. It was their proposal that the price shall be increased by 5 % vis a vis the rupee depreciation. The ‘Electricity mafia’ on the other hand demanded a specified amount as bribe if it is to comply with the request of the Canadian Co. The mafia made it clear if the electricity generated by the new Co. is to be purchased by them , the electricity purchased from the present Co .has to be curtailed . Therefore they will have to necessarily collect from the new Co. , the illicit commissions that are being paid to them at present.
Meanwhile , the subordinates of Champika Ranawake demanded a sum of US dollars 3.5 million (Rs. 520 million) from the German Co. selected by the UDA of Champika as bribe if that Co. is to be permitted to commence this project. The German Co . was not prepared to pay that amount . Finally , following a tug o war , that project foundered on the rocks .
Another American Co. of repute which wished to inaugurate a waste recycling project in SL , inquired from the US Embassy in SL in that regard before its launch. The Embassy gave a most startling advice to that Co.
Three American companies during the whole of the last decade came forth in connection with that project but all of them wasted their time and money only. Therefore if it is the desire of the latest Co. too to waste its time and money , then it can try its hand, the US Embassy informed the prospective investor.
To the Colombo refuse bin politicos ,’garbage business’ is a money spinner because their best policy is, where there is muck there is money.
As we are still living in the stone age ,we collect thrown away food, cardboard, paper , glass, metal and plastic because the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) calls for tenders to segregate those items found among the garbage .
Who secures the tender bids ? It is the Municipal councilors .The equipments and machinery deployed at the garbage dumping grounds at Meethotamulla and Wattala too are those of the Municipal Councilors. What’s more , the payments for those are made by the CMC , and those too are collected by the Councilors.
It is therefore clear , while the people are living amidst garbage , these politicos and officials are thriving on the ‘garbage income’ and fattening themselves on the death and despair of the suffering people.
It s because of our illicit commission craving ‘ravenous crows’ that the Canadian Co. which came forward to invest in Sri Lanka using the latest technologies had to abandon their idea. Thereby , the country lost the golden opportunity of increasing its national grid capacity by about 240 megawatts electricity per day through power generation from the 650 metric tons (approximately) garbage collected from Meethotamulla; 80 metric tons from Colombo city ; and the garbage collected from the environs .
It is the same commission craving ‘ravenous garbage digging crows’ of the Central government, after grabbing the project from the Western PC , drove out a German Co. too that came to transform refuse into electricity via most advanced technology .
It is most unfortunate even after the Meethotamulla tragedy ,we still have no recycling of waste solution. All what is talked about is creating again garbage dumps , now in Dompe and ‘ Romey’ after removing the garbage dump from Meethotamulla. Even today , no preparations have been made to make use of the many metric tons of garbage that are accumulating daily. They only want that to remain useless and worthless in much the same way as themselves are to the country.
The only country in the whole world where there was a report of people dying following a garbage dump collapse before our own , was Ethiopia . There the people were forcibly made to take up residence in that area by the government .
Indeed , Sri Lanka is Asia’s model in the making !
Translated by Jeff
by (2017-04-20 17:24:07)
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For many decades, Sri Lanka has had no sane waste disposal policies other than politicians with unclean slates, talking garbage.Post MaRa, we have The Meethotamulla Tragedy. Notwithstanding, how many people remember that the socialist patriot CKB - the daughter of All Mothers of Sri Lanka - was active in policymaking to use Sri Lanka as a burial ground for nuclear waste exported from Europe just to earn a few wistful dollars? Wither Mother Lanka?
-- by A. Weerasinghe on 2017-04-20