The Garbage Problem.
Posted on September 11th, 2018

Garvin Karunaratne

I doubt whether we have learned a lesson from the Meetotamulla Garbage Disdaster where 32  people died. The garbage collection at Muturajawela is yet intact.

Recently it is reported that the garbage collected in Blumendhal, Colombo is ablaze.

I am aware that action is being taken to dispatch the garbage to Puttlam. But this will take time and in the meantime some immediate action has to be taken.

I suggested that action be taken to bury the garbage in coconut estates and I yet think this is the quickest and best way ahead to clear the piles.  I enclose my earlier writing in detail:

“The Garbage Disaster(from Lanka Web 10/5/2017)

The garbage pile at Meetotamulla erupted, took the lives of 32 or more and we are in complacency- now, we are talking. There are piles of Garbage at various places and some authorities state that they will not explode.  I am certain that those authorities were well aware of the Meetotamulla Pile before it erupted.

There are accepted methods of turning the garbage into power, and these are being looked into but it  will definitely take time. In the manner we now act, it may take a few years to have those systems going.

In the meantime the piles that are already there are dangers and what about the daily intake of garbage, we do not know where to dump it!.

I managed my family farm- a small coconut acreage for five years and took great pains to dig trenches and fill them with dried leaves and foliage turning them into compost to be nutrients. Today in the heart of London my home garbage is buried and we apply a chemical powder to enhance the process of the garbage becoming compost. We collect the dried leaves and make compost- it takes a year or so and that too with adding chemicals.

I am certain that the garbage can be provided to coconut estate owners to be buried. Owners of coconut land find it difficult to find funds to buy manure. The crop is low and coconut pilfering is very widespread in small acreages. For this the coconut estate owners have to be asked to dig trenches- the depth and size to be decided by agriculturists and soil scientists, the owners have to get the trenches dug and shown to officialdom, then the garbage has to get sifted of extraneous matter- like iron, and non compostable materials. This sifting has to be done by the Local Authorities.  A payment is due for digging the trenches. Coconut estates too have to get paid. Compost enhancing chemicals have to be used.  I read somewhere that there is a dearth of labour for this task. It is a tedious process that people will not like to do and therefore the pay has to be commensurately high and gloves and masks have to be provided, with showers for the workers to bathe at the end of work. At Ambalantota Rice Mill,  I was bathed in dust many a day and so were all workers.

The application of compost is bound to increase the crop”

The method suggested of getting coconut estate owners to dig trenches and for the disposal of garbage to eventually become compost, can be done quickly, in addition to the project to dispose garbage at Puttalam.

Garvin Karunaratne


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