Leaving the petty political divisions behind the lawmakers yesterday agreed to find a permanent solution to control the growing garbage issue by not leaving room for another tragedy.
Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi MP, Leader of the Opposition Rajavarothiam Sampanthan moving the adjournment motion held the governments of the past and present responsible for the Meethotamulla tragedy. He urged the decision makers to take all actions to compensate the victims and to find a firm solution for the growing garbage problem.
“Meethotamulla is just the tip of an ice berg. Unless there is a radical change in this political culture our country could face many more greater disasters. The culture of politics in this country has become such that no issue however important to the country and its people can be addressed free of political influence and political meddling. Our political culture is such that anything irrespective whether it is right or wrong, moral or immoral, legal or illegal, shall be done to promote their political careers to acquire and retain political power for their own convenience” he said.
Calling for the much-needed political change, MP Sampanthan said: “This political culture must change. Those elected by the people are elected to serve the best interests of the country. They should not device and subvert public trust placed in them against their own political gains and benefits. Claims of alleged patriotism can never be a substitute for action that demonstrates a genuine commitment to honestly serve the country. I urge the Government to take immediate steps to adequately compensate the victims and relocate the affected people, and also as a matter of utmost urgency to come up with solutions to the growing garbage crisis in the country,” he said.
Proposing stern action against those who dump refuse irresponsibly, Minister of Megapolis and Western Development Patali Champika Ranawaka said: “Around 3 million tons of garbage had been dumped at this marshy land called Pothuvil Kumbura now known as Meethotamulla garbage dump, since 1989The responsibility of garbage disposal comes under Colombo Municipal Council. There are around 70 engineers to manage that task. But when it came to Meethotamulla they have failed to take at least a single measure to rehabilitate the dump.”
“The garbage management should start at domestic level. We should introduce different mechanisms to dispose the electronic wastes and clinical wastes rather adding them to any dumps cause serious health hazards. Governments tried to dump garbage in a in lime stone quarry in Puttlam. But based on a report from the Wild Life Department this was stopped. Nearly 1.3 million tons of lime stone excavated every year but only 0.4 million tons of garbage is accumulated every year. So, we have to be bold to address this issue,” he added.
Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Faiszer Musthapha joining the debate assured the House to take action to revise the agreements with the two companies; against ‘Care Cleaner’ and ‘Abans’ already contracted for garbage collection in Colombo. “From 1st of November 2016 I gave directive that all local government bodies should collect segregated waste. The two companies involved in collecting garbage in Colombo paid additional bonus to their employees for going house to house saying not to segregate waste, and instead pay some money to them.
There is corruption at all quarters with regard to the collection of garbage. I asked the CMC why garbage collection was outsourced to these two companies for a period of four years. The Commissioner had no answer. ‘Care Cleaner’ and ‘Abans’ use employees over 75 years and even disabled persons for garbage collection just to show they have got required numbers of workers” he added. AH