Hats off to Kelaniya University
Posted on June 9th, 2011

Ranjith Soysa

It is very heartening to read that the scientists at Kelaniya University had successfully discovered the main cause behind the kidney disease afflicting mainly the agricultural community in the North Central province. For a period of nearly 15 years many foreign and local universities including research organisations had engaged themselves in carrying out surveys etc. which resulted in piling up statistics of the affected people leading to enhanced medical facilities etc. to treat the disease and also enriching the drug and equipment suppliers. Some of the surveys were funded by foreign sources indicating that perhaps even the pharmaceutical companies and their friendly sisters would have purposely directed the investigations to dwell on the need to provide treatment rather than study the causes which led to the human misery.

The scientists at Kelaniya University have used their scientific skills buttressed by the love for the country and her people in their search for the causes. They have found that the arsenic mixed in very high proportion in the imported fertilizer have made our people sick for a long time making them almost desperate and pushing them to a pit of bottomless poverty, The Government had been hard put to build hospitals, supply equipment and medical drugs in this ever widening spiral.

It is also encouraging to hear that the Sri Lanka Customs too have joined this effort in nabbing a few shipments of fertilizer suspected to be mixed with arsenic. The message should now go to the Ministers and the President to introduce stringent laws to prevent recurrence of this crime against the humanity as the poor farming community in the North Central province has been almost between the devil and deep blue sea during the past years.

Either the Kelaniya University or a patriotic organisation should now get relevant information about the injuries, loss and damages caused to the people to plan criminal action to claim compensation for the affected and also to prevent rapacious multi-national companies from amassing profits at the expense of the people.

Ranjith Soysa

7 Responses to “Hats off to Kelaniya University”

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    Our thanks to Mr Ranjith Soysa for this article. We are indeed proud of our scientists at the Kelaniya University, that they used their exceptional skills to help their country. Congratulations ! – may you all conduct many more successful scientific projects
    to help Lanka. We hope GoSL gives the University people concerned due recognition for this exceptional service.

    And to stop unscrupulous people doing bad business for profit making at the expense of our unsuspecting citizens, we agree that :

    “Either the Kelaniya University or a patriotic organisation should now get relevant information about the injuries, loss and damages caused to the people to plan criminal action to claim compensation for the affected and also to prevent rapacious multi-national companies from amassing profits at the expense of the people”.

  2. jay-ran Says:

    Highly commendable article and join to congratulate those involved in scientifically discovering the main cause for the kidney disease which had killed over 20,000 innocent Sri Lankans. Its high time that GOSL should investigate the activities of those DIRTY OFFICIALS who were involved in recommending & allowing this poisonous fertilizer to be imported totally disregarding the after effects suffered by the farmers as well as innocent villages who consumed the poisoned water.

    All those responsible must be served with severe punishment if found guilty and also GOSL MUST REWARD THOSE WHO PERFORMED THE TESTS AND TOOK ACTION WITHIN A SHORT NOTICE TO WITHHOLD THE FERTILIZER ALREADY IMPORTED.

  3. Kithsiri De Silva Says:

    KELANIYA UNIVERSITY SHOULD PUBLISH THEIR FINDING IN A COUPLE OF RECOGNIZED PUBLICATIONS AS A RESEARCH PAPER TO GAIN WIDER PUBLICITY.
    LONG TERM ARSENIC POISONING WILL LEAD TO MANY LONG TERM MEDICAL CONDITIONS.
    IF THIS IS A MAN-MADE OR NATURAL CATASTROPHE, PEOPLE SHOULD BE EDUCATED IMMEDIATELY AS A PREVENTIVE MEASURE.
    FINDING CULPRITS AND PUNISHING THEM ARE IMPORTANT BUT IT SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN THE TOP PRIORITY SLOT.
    EDUCATION IS THE BEST PREVENTIVE MEASURE AND IT SHOULD BE GIVEN THE TOP SLOT.
    WELL DONE.

  4. Dilrook Says:

    Thanks Ranjith for bringing this out.

    Arsenic in the soil has been caused due to heavy use of pesticides in these regions over the years. However, pesticides containing arsenic was banned in 2001. An investigation should be done to find wrongdoers.

    More importantly the government has to take immediate steps to remove arsenic from the soil. Edenfern is a fern that removes arsenic from the soil. Once grown these fronds are safely removed. Other more immediate methods should also be used.

    Rice varieties that don’t uptake or resistent to arsenic uptake should be introduced in these areas.

    A certain Prof Nalin De Silva was part of the study. Not sure if he’s the same popular professor well known for his love for the nation.

    Given the political sensitivity, the government must pay special urgent attention to this problem.

  5. sena Says:

    Is n’t this effort little over blown. How long have we been using fertilizer and pesticides (often indiscriminately)? And how many institutions (some like standard institution, dept of agriculture, custom are required by law to do so)we have, who have the capability to check the quality of fertilizer and its repercussions (this is not brain science to make a connection between toxic residues in fertilizer and their accumulation in soil). And where are the politicians all this time. Now after the horse jump the fence it is too late. It is another example of our educated contributing very little (aggravated by almost unbelievable political ineptness and lack of vision) to the country after poor public fund their education.

  6. Kithsiri De Silva Says:

    AGREED.
    FAILED SYSTEMS AND INEPT AND VISIONLESS LAW MAKERS AND WHO ARE TO BE BLAMED FOR THIS PREDICAMENT?
    WE THE VOTERS, WHO HAD BEEN MAKING THE SAME MISTAKE AGAIN AND AGAIN SINCE THE SO-CALLED INDEPENDENCE.
    THIS INCIDENT TOO WILL BE USED BY THEM FOR SCORING A FEW POLITICAL POINTS AND FORGET ONCE THE ATTENTIONS IS DIVERTED TO ANOTHER ISSUE UNLESS WE GET OUR ACT RIGHT THAN BLAMING OTHERS.
    ARE WE READY?

  7. Ben_silva Says:

    Ranjith has highlighted a serious problem faced by people in NCP. It should be a basic human right to have clean drinking water and should draw the attention of authorities and aid agencies. Until a permanent solution is obtained some means such as providing bottled water, transport of water using an OX cart, providing piped water need to be considered. Similar problem exist in Pnjab .Media reports indicate that Punjab is avoiding the use of pesticides and fertiliser. See ‘Cancer train”
    ” ref: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103569390 for more info.

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