Following an RTI filed some months back, a change for the better was observed down a certain street in Colombo 13.
The RTI was regarding the practice of letting street lamps burn at all hours of the day, especially in some parts of Colombo City. This Right to Information application was filed due to concern about the unnecessary wastage of energy and public resources.
The Colombo Municipal Council, which answered the information request, had supplied the information that the daily time period assigned for turning these lamps on is 5.30 pm – 7 pm. Subsequently the next morning, the task of switching them off is supposed to be undertaken from 5.30 am – 7 am. Also, some of these street lamps are automatic lamps that turn on and off on their own.
One street lamp situated in the above-mentioned certain street, was found to be always in its ‘on’ state for months on end, regardless of the time of day. However, a while after the information request was answered and an article written regarding the matter, it was found that this street light is no longer on during the day. Rather, it is only in use during the appropriate hours!
Such outcomes can be gained through the proper use of the Right to Information Act, which has been in place in Sri Lanka for the past few years. It is evident that such laws can often serve to make public authorities aware of issues both large and small, which they can then address in order to bring about such changes for the better.