Aruwakkalu Landfill to accept garbage from Puttalam

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By Disna Mudalige

The Aruwakkalu Sanitary Landfill site will accept garbage collected from all local authorities in the Puttalam district from March 15, Megapolis and Western Development Ministry Secretary Nihal Rupasinghe said.
In the wake of growing ‘hartal’ and other protest campaigns by the area residents with only a month remaining to the commissioning of the landfill, the Ministry Secretary took pains to dispel the doubts and fears harboured against the project.
Speaking to the media along with the project consultants, Rupasinghe firmly defended the project detailing on its scientific and technical aspects and the special precautions taken to avoid environmental and health hazards.
The Metro Colombo Solid Waste Management Project was commenced as a durable solution to the garbage problem in Colombo following the Meethotamulla tragedy in 2017.
Rupasinghe said Phase I of the much-needed project has now been completed and the Ministry has decided to initially accept garbage in the Puttalam district to the landfill.
“About 160 tonnes of garbage is collected daily in the Puttalam district and the current system of waste disposal in the area is open dumping and burning. This leads to many environmental and health hazards and we could observe that the leachate was leaking to the streets. People in Puttalam have got nothing to object to the landfill site as it also provides a scientific solution to their own garbage problem,” Rupasinghe said.
“People panic because they are not familiar with the technological aspects of it and are misled by wrong information. I ask those protesting against the landfill to come up with one justifiable reason for their objections,” Rupasinghe said.
“The Aruwakkalu Landfill will be fully completed by the end of this year and it can accommodate 1,200 tonnes of garbage per day. Once the Kelaniya Transmission Station is built, garbage collected in the Colombo, Dehiwala and Kolonnawa Municipal Councils will be transported from Kelaniya to Aruwakkalu in sealed containers via train. Four new train engines for the purpose have already been ordered from China,” he explained.
He pointed out that the Kelawarapitiya site where garbage is now being disposed would reach its full capacity in a few months’ time and an alternative durable solution is needed urgently. He said waste to energy projects in Karadiyana and Kelawarapitiya, each with a capacity to generate 10 MW, would be completed by another two years.
“However, the landfills are cost effective than waste to energy projects. As estimated waste to energy projects cost about Rs.7,000 per a tonne of garbage, while the landfill only costs Rs 3,000 per a tonne of garbage,” he explained.

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