Open letter to Minister Faizer Musthafa
Posted on October 3rd, 2016

Dr. Mareena Thaha Reffai, Dehiwela

Recent news says the minister has asked the people to sort out their garbage and unless they do that, it will not be collected. He had failed dot inform the public what good it does to sort out the garbage since the dumping ground is still a question mark.

Dear Minister, it would have been much more practical if only you could have  informed the public to use the perishables to create compost. The rest can, of course, be recycled; the greatest portion of the garbage collected from homes are the perishables from the kitchen and the garden refuse.  This is considered to be black gold in some countries where they see and recognize a good thing, which is not the trait of Srilankans anyway.

Mr. Minister, To overcome the garbage disposal all you have to do is to provide a compost bin to each household and ask them to dump the perishables in to them. Is that a big deal? But then we Srilankans, never follow  the obviously simple means , do we? The cost of the compost bins, which can be made from recycled plastic, will cost only a fraction of the salary and the transport of tons and tons of garbage, which has no place to go.  On the other hand the compost is selling at 200 rupees a bag of 10 kilos – either the householder can use it or can sell it.

This obviously is not a novel invention – it is a well known, well tried profitable way of disposing garbage by garden lovers. All it needs is a little dedication and education of the public.

Why not try  this at least in one area, as a pilot project. I am sure you are in for a huge surprise.

Sent by:

Dr. Mareena Thaha Reffai,

, Dehiwela


2 Responses to “Open letter to Minister Faizer Musthafa”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Mr. Minister, why not you jump into the compost bin which will SAVE SL a few millions and 1 YAMAPALANAYA.

  2. plumblossom Says:

    As another persons has suggested in another article, you cannot bail garbage since it is a putrefying material. If you try to bale garbage which is a putrefying material, it would create a huge heath hazard. The issue of solid waste management should be left to those who are experts on that subject since those who do not know about the subject will suggest completely inappropriate solutions which will create massive health hazards.

    You cannot dump garbage in and around Muthurajawela since it is a wetland and a nature reserve and it is against the law to disturb a nature reserve in any way. Wetlands are disappearing fast and we should preserve whatever wetlands we have and Muthurajawela is an important wetland and it must have protected status as per Sri Lankan law and therefore garbage cannot be dumped near a wetland in this way.

    About the garbage problem, the normal practice followed is to reduce the amount of garbage produced by following the P plus three R’s concept. This is prevent, reduce, reuse and recycle. Therefore, children and households should be educated as to how to prevent, reduce, reuse and recycle rubbish. Householders can be provided a compost bin and taught how to compost the organic part of the garbage. There can be separate collections of items such as tin, plastic, paper, cardboard, glass etc. which can then be recycled. In fact recycling bins can be installed in every town so people can bring items to be recycled and dispose of in the recycle bins. All these measures will reduce the final amount of garbage from households that needs to be disposed at a landfill site.

    A designed land fill site can be used to disposed of garbage. Designed means using a liner to prevent leachate from the putrefying garbage entering the water table, and methane gas collection pipes installed to collect methane gas which is also produced when the garbage putrefies. On top, leachate should also be collected and treated in a wastewater treatment plant. As you can see, a designed landfill site is expensive to build. During the previous government’s time, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya landfill sites were semi-designed. An alternative is to install a number of incinerators and to produce energy using the waste to energy concept. However, this is also expensive and will produce greenhouse gases and toxic substances which as need to be disposed in a careful manner. For a tropical country, landfilling is best rather than incineration.

    There was a plan to use a disused quarry site in Puttlam to dispose of garbage from the Colombo area. It is OK as long as the quarry floor is made impermeable using a liner so that leachate from the putrefying garbage does not reach the water table. Here a designed landfill will have to be built to treat the leachate and to collect the methane gas which will be produced. A wastewater treatment plant will also have to be built.

    The best solution to the garbage problem in Colombo is to educate children from kindergarten level up the concept of prevent, reduce, reuse , recycle. Provide each householder with a composting bin to compost the organic part of the garbage and distribute leaflets educating the public as to how to compost the organic part of the garbage, have separate collections for recyclable material such as plastic, tin, paper, cardboard, glass by provision of coloured bins to each household to distinguish recyclable material from garbage to be disposed of at a landfill site. Finally provide each householder a separately coloured bin to collect that part of the garbage to be disposed at a landfill site.

    Also in each town and village, install a number of large bins so that villagers can dispose of recyclable material such as plastic, tin, glass, paper and cardboard which should then be collected for recycling by the local council.

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