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Where does it go, the solid waste of Colombo?

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Many residents of Colombo recently faced the problem of their household garbage not being collected. By now, however, garbage collection should have resumed in the city in adherence to collection schedules.

In light of the recent occurrences and with the regularity of garbage collection lacking somewhat since the current collection system started, an RTI (Right To Information) application was submitted to the Colombo Municipal Council in order to get a better understanding of the overall handling of garbage in the commercial capital.

According to the CMC, the average daily waste generation from Colombo City stands at 550 metric tonnes (MT). This is a significant percentage when compared to the 7,000 MT of garbage that is said to be produced per day in the entire island nation.

The Colombo Municipal Council’s reply to the RTI also communicated that almost 100% of the solid waste that the City generates is collected by the Colombo Municipal Councildaily.

The CMC also explained that there are three waste categories that it has introduced: organic waste, non-recyclable waste and recyclable waste.

Organic waste was originally sent for composting at the Kerawalapitiya compost yard. However, this compost yard has been closed from 3rd August 2019 for renovation purposes. Therefore, from the 3rd of August this year, organic waste that is collected is sent to the sanitary landfill at Aruwakkalu.

Waste that is non-recyclable is also sent to the Aruwakkalu landfill, while waste such as paper, cardboard, glass bottles, etc. (i.e. recyclable waste) is accordingly sent for recycling.

It is also worth noting that garbage that qualifies as e-waste is collected only at the waste market ‘KasalaPola’ by a registered recycler.

It has long since become clear that residents and businesses, especially those in the city, should focus on trying to generate less waste. At the same time, however, the meticulous and timelyservices of entities like the Colombo Municipal Council prove indispensable for the proper management of solid waste.

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