Dipped Products MD denies responsibility for water contamination; expresses grave concerns over Wel

Monday, 5 August 2013 00:27 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

With regard to the public unrest concerning the Hayleys Group’s factory in the Weliweriya area, the Managing Director of Dipped Products PLC Dr. Mahesha Ranasoma released the following statement: Dipped Products PLC of Hayleys Group has been making an invaluable contribution to the economy of Sri Lanka and is a key foreign exchange earner for the country through the manufacture of latex glove products and marketing them over more than 70 countries in the world. Operating for nearly four decades Dipped Products PLC accounts for 5% of the world’s production of non-medical rubber gloves of which our factory in Nedungamuwa produces nearly 45%.  There has been a misconception that the Dipped Products factory located in Nedungamuwa, Weliweriya is causing environmental and water pollution which consequently has caused much social unrest among the residents of the area. As the Managing Director of the organisation I would like to express our grave concerns over this matter. The section of the public in the area is acting under the impression that the effluents released by the factory is lowering the well water quality (pH). We as a conglomerate that follows ethical procedures to deliver quality products as well as service with utmost care condemn the accusations made by such people and take this opportunity to affirm our Quality Control Procedures. Our effluent water quality is regularly tested by the National Building and Research Organization and our facility operates with valid Environmental Protection Licence. Reports issued by the National Building and Research Organisation throughout the history of our operations to-date clearly show that the pH level of the treated water released by our factory falls between 6.5 and 8.2. This shows that the treated water released from the factory is well within the accepted standards and does not in any way harm the environment. We have also received ISO 14001:2005 certification which clearly shows that our factory complies with all environmental guidelines and further to this we encourage our customers to conduct their own audits of our factory, in addition to several quality audits conducted by us. Upon request more information can be presented on behalf of my organisation that is being subjected to this unfair accusation. Another key factor to consider is that our factory is located at Nedungamuwa, Weliweriya an area in which there can be natural occurrences of low levels of pH in shallow water that could be less than 6.5. Therefore accusing us of being responsible for creating this situation is false and invalid when it is known that a river basin therein has naturally occurring low pH shallow water areas. Reasons for such low pH occurrence could be the dissolved carbon dioxide as well as iron oxide predominantly present in the Rathupaswala area neighbouring Nedungamuwa. Before this incident took place, we have had many discussions with the residents, officials from the health department, and political leaders of the area as well as heads of civil organisations all of which was conducted in a friendly and hospitable manner and never once amounted to anything resembling the violence and unrest we are experiencing today. We have reasonable suspicions that this incident is being aggravated by certain parties with hidden political agendas who are seeking to bring our company to disrepute and tarnish the good image that Dipped Products PLC as a part of the Hayleys Group has so successfully built up over the years. As the public unrest escalated we held discussions with several Government officials of this country including the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. During this meeting we agreed to cease manufacturing operations while an investigation into finding the reasons for low pH water in the wells is conducted by the Industrial Technology Institute, National Water Supply and Drainage Board, Geological Survey and Mines Bureau, University of Moratuwa and the University of Kelaniya. We are prepared to offer whatever support is required to ensure that a full and fair investigation is carried out. We also urge the responsible authorities concerned to conduct their investigation in a speedy manner so that our good image can be restored. Furthermore, the Hayleys Group has been the winner of the Best Corporate Citizen Award in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2010 which is a clear indication of our commitment to the public of this country. Even during this situation, we have always acted in a people-friendly manner with the sole objective of resolving the tension in the area. I would like to express my deep disappointment towards those who are trying to fulfil narrow political agendas by creating a violent atmosphere and urge them to cease these hostilities and work with us towards achieving a solution that are beneficial to all parties concerned.