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Thu, 27 November 2014 15:36:33
Sri Lanka mulls rail hauling city waste to limestone pits
29 Jan, 2013 14:52:53
Jan 29, 2013 (LBO) - Sri Lanka is mulling a plan to haul solid waste from Sri Lanka's capital Colombo to open pit limestone mines in the northwest of the island by rail as part of a plan to modernize the fast expanding metropolis, a top official said.
Disposing of solid waste in Colombo has become a problem city authorities running out of landfill sites.

One of the plans being consider is to take rubbish to Puttalam, more than 130 kilometres north of Colombo where large pits from which limestone had been mined for cement manufacture could be filled.

"We estimate that three freight trains a day could take the entire city waste," Rohan Seneviratne, additional secretary of the ministry of defence and urban development said.

"The trains could run in the night."

Seneviratne said a study is being conducted to come up with a comprehensive plan to dispose of city waste and rail haulage plan was one of the available options.

Waste will be taken in special covered wagons. Already there was a rail track leading to the limestone mines.

It was estimated that about 150 acres of land would be needed for use as a landfill but there no space nearby.

Solid waste disposal in Colombo, Kotte, Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia and Kolonnawa is part of a larger 230 million US dollar project to boost drainage, prevent floods, build lakes, eco parks, sea and lakefront promenades with World Bank support.

Seneviratne said while there had been talk of setting up power plants burning municipal waste nothing concrete had come up despite an attractive rate of over 20 rupees a kilowatt being offered for developers.

He said Sri Lanka's solid waste was moist and was not deemed to generate sufficient heat to make a plant viable.

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READER COMMENT(S)
7. owllll Jan 03
Garbage collectors will either refuse to collect garbage from those who fail to separate it or will charge them for separating it. Test runs in Kandy seem to indicate that many like to pay for the separation process because they find it mentally challenging to decide which category each item belongs to. Garbage collectors - who are often less educated than the garbage makers - do the job very well. This may be something to do with the education system.
6. Hiran Oct 22
As 'Owl' Said...
Disposing garbage in limestone mines pits is not the sustainable solution. What will happen if this pollutes the deep water reserves ?

I wonder why the government is not enthusiastic (as in Highway projects) in recycling projects...??

Although there would be people who will not support it by sorting their garbage(but, many people will); it should be done at earliest. Proper legislation should be laid (like in Singapore); to 'Change people's minds' against dumping garbage in anywhere.

5. owl Oct 22
1. Insist that residents sort their garbage into bio degradable and non bio degradable substances.

2. Process bio degradable substances for fertilizer.

3. Process non bio degradable substances into silicates, plastics and metals and re cycle.

This has been made clear to the authorities in many ways and on many occasions.

The problem is not the waste but the fact that the government continues to refuse to do what must be done not only with respect to solid waste disposal but in relation to sustainability in general.

4. Free Enterprise Jan 30
@Not on my backyard
This is a big open pit mine, there are no people there nearby. Also most of the tax money that goes to develop the provinces are generated in Colombo.

Another peculiar story is that even earlier when compost was made in Colombo with municipal waste it was sold mostly to the Kalpitiya farmers.

@Niro
Very true. But bear in mind that the export crazy (or industrial export crazy) mercantilists who promote export manufacturing. The people who outsource are simply capitalists working to cut costs not to harm anyone else.

The capitalists also outsource services. The nationalists in developed countries oppose both, saying they 'steal' jobs.

3. Niro Jan 30
@Not on my back yard
What you are looking at is only a symptom of a global problem from a local perspective.

You seem to have forgotten this is how the global manufacturing outsourcing model work.

The developed world outsources their manufacturing needs to the developing world due to low wages, lax environmental laws etc. The ill effects of mass manufacturing (pollution, waste, long term health problems due to exposure to chemicals etc) stays in the developing world while the finished goods are shipped to the developed world. To compound the problem, they pay only a pittance for the finished goods just enough to cover the costs.

Can we impose a 'pollution + waste' tax on the exported goods thus increasing the prices we charge? If we do, our prices will be uncompetitive.

This is the reality we have to deal with.

2. Not in my back yard Jan 30
There should be a provincial tax on those who want to dump waste. This way the Puttlam provincce can use the funds to process the waste or use the funds for other developments. The people of the area should not bear the burden of the capital city garbage issue
1. rasavath Jan 29
How about those of us who live in the area . City folk throw their problems into our backyard.... Elavankulam resident