Sri Lanka Customs officials at the CICT of the Colombo Port yesterday
Sri Lanka Customs yesterday reshipped the final 45 of the 263 containers filled with waste, which was illegally sent to the country from the UK in 2017.
The ‘Ever Genius’ vessel left the Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) of the Colombo port with the final 45 boxes filled with waste last night, Sri Lanka Customs Media Spokesman Sudatta Silva told journalists yesterday.
In December 2019, an investigation conducted by the Social Protection Directorate Unit of the Sri Lanka Customs found 242 containers filled with clinical waste, used cushions and mattresses, plastic waste and unsorted and hazardous waste imported into the country from the UK.
The revelation of the well-organised racket that has been going on since 2017, stirred much controversy and got both local and international spotlight.
Sri Lanka is internationally protected from waste imports through the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal, the most comprehensive global treaty on hazardous waste treatment.
In response to a petition filed by the Central Environment Authority (CEA), on 14 October 2020, the Court of Appeal ordered to resend all 263 containers with garbage which were shipped to Sri Lanka, back to the UK.
Following the Court order, Sri Lanka Customs took steps to resend 133 containers that was stored at the Port of Colombo in 2020, whilst the balance 130 boxes which was shifted to the Katunayake Investment Zone, was reshipped in 85 container batches on nine occasions during last year.
Although permission had to be obtained before sending them from the UK to Sri Lanka, this has not been done. Permission must be obtained from the country prior to sending the relevant material under the Basel Convention, an international agreement between Sri Lanka and the UK.
Sri Lanka Customs Spokesman said the Environment Ministry and the CEA provided great support from the time of exposure till the last container was reshipped to the UK.
“We will take further legal action under the provisions of the Customs ordinance against the individuals and institutions involved in this illegal activity,” Silva added.
The original waste filled containers sent from the UK