Letter to the Editor- Open letter to Basil Rajapakse
Posted on June 7th, 2010

By Dr. Mrs. Mareena Thaha Reffai Vanderwert Place,  Dehiwela.

Open letter to Basil Rajapakse

 Today the Daily Mirror (7/6/2010) carries an article about one Isuru Prabath, a 17 year old student dying due to Dengue. A little girl from our orphanage is very sick today and is  in ICU, Kalubowila hospital,  “”…” suffering from Dengue. Many households in Dehiwela are still reeling from the damage caused by the sudden floods.

Whose fault is this?

We always keep our surrounding very clean. But we cannot help if there are sili sili bags in the drains in front of the orphanage. We cannot help it if there are mountains of garbage in front of Dehiwela market. We cannot help when people just dump their own garbage in front of the orphanage just in the middle of the road.

So who is responsible for the sickness and the deaths? I think the responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of you all- those who took the governance of this country  in your hands promising the people a healthy, wealthy and prosperous  country .

Why I am writing to you “”…” because I am told that you get things done provided you are convinced of the importance of a project.  

When garbage kept collecting in mounds all over Colombo “”…” it was  not only an eye sore “”…” but also  a sitting bomb “”…” threatening all with all sorts of diseases, it irked everyone of us, the concerned citizens. So when the Governors and others concerned called for a meeting, there was great expectation (at least within my heart) “”…” that something constructive is going to be done. But what a disappointment! All what the worthies together  decided was to promise they will remove all of the garbage  by the 7th. So what happens when the next heavy rain comes? Back to square one. Same cycle will be  repeated.

How come that the Srilankans have not got a notion about a thing called  PREVENTION?  The solution to the garbage problem is as plain as the nose on your face. It is staring at everyone of us. But, no, we will not even think about it, we will let the garbage collect in piles and piles and keep wondering where to dump them. 

Having written repeatedly about it, having met Mayors, Ministers, Environmentalists, housewives “”…” and failed miserably to make an impact – my last plea is to you.

Please let us get our beautiful country cleaned up. It is so simple if only we set our hearts to it.

Everyone knows the answers but let me repeat them “”…” in point form.

1.    Educate the public on the importance of proper garbage disposal.

2.     Educate the public on the importance of proper garbage disposal.

3.    Educate the public on the importance of proper garbage disposal.

 Yes that is not a print mistake, that should  be repeated umpteen times  for the rest to take effect.

Train our countrymen to be proud of our country “”…” to be proud enough to keep it clean and beautiful; train from childhood up to old age like what they did in Singapore.

4.    Ban plastic bags which will not disintegrate. Bring in factories which will produce bio degradable  bags which will disintegrate.

5.    Encourage the super markets to use paper bags for grocery  like the western countries

6.    Train housewives to sort out the garbage as and when it is produced. Make a massive campaign to the “ƒ”¹…”reduce/reuse/ recycle’  concept   and sustain the propaganda  at least for two years till it becomes a habit in Srilanka.

7.    Distribute  compost barrels free  to every household. Make it profitable to use it. Make arrangement  for people to buy the fertilizer produced.

8.    Encourage recycling. Give interest free loans for recycling ventures.

9.    Charge spot fines from  those who dump garbage on the roads.

10.   PHI’s to be in charge of maintenance of cleanliness of  the main roads. Fine the PHI in whose areas garbage is found dumped on the roads.

11.  Regular cleaning of drains to be done by the municipalities / urban councils etc..

12.  Make garbage disposal the topic of competitions, seminars, discussions etc. etc.

 True this is going to cost a colossal sum of money but it will be just pea nuts compared to what you are spending now on

1.    Clearing garbage

2.    Treatment of patients affected by diseases caused by poor garbage disposal

3.    Expenditure on the victims of floods

Besides, this is going to be a beautiful country, with many more job opportunities and  most of all a healthy population.

Are you convinced this is important enough to catch your imagination? I sincerely hope so.

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