The Right to Information Act was put to use in order to ask the Central Environmental Authority some questions about people’s reactions to water pollution being caused due to household, business, and production activities in the country.
The RTI application asked the public authority about the number of complaints that have been made against factories, houses, hotels, and other businesses discharging waste material into water bodies such as rivers, lakes, and the ocean. Although the CEA was not able to provide the exact information that was requested, they provided some general information in their reply.
In the response letter, the Central Environmental Authority supplied the district-wise data regarding complaints received related to wastewater discharges from industrial activities.
It is important to note that the below data is for the first half of 2020 (i.e. 01/01/2020 to 30/06/2020) and that these complaints are related to issues of wastewater discharges to the environment (water bodies, soil, etc.)
The most complaints were received from Colombo, followed by Anuradhapura. It is worth noting here, however, that while there were 12 complaints from Colombo, there were only half as many from Anuradhapura. Hambanthota, Kalutara, and Kandy each had 5 complaints related to wastewater discharge issues. The Ratnapura District had 4 while Kegalle, Kurunegala, and Matale each had 3.
There were 2 complaints per district from the Badulla, Galle, Gampaha, and Jaffna Districts, and 1 complaint per district from Ampara, Monaragala, and Nuwara Eliya. In all, a total of 57 complaints had been received from 16 districts within this 6-month time period.
The RTI application also questioned what actions had already been taken following these complaints and how many of these cases were still pending. To this, the CEA answered that it was attending to all these complaints and also stated that “Progress on CEA action complete – 50%”.